While estate planning is vital to anyone who wishes to pass their worldly belongings on to their loved ones, it can be especially important to women. But why?
One big reason is that women live significantly longer than men. This means that they often outlive their husbands, sometimes remarry, and likely need more money for senior care in their later years. Let’s take a closer look at some of the estate planning issues that women should understand as they prepare for retirement and beyond.
- Women need wills, too. Some women make very dangerous and inaccurate assumptions about estate planning: some think that their husband’s will is enough. Some think that others will know exactly what her wishes are after her death. Some think that they don’t have enough assets to do any estate planning at all. Some assume that their children will automatically split her assets correctly and fairly upon her death. In reality, everyone should understand that a will is there to protect your interests, cut through red tape, and help ensure that your wishes are heard.
- Durable power of attorney is an absolute must. On average, women live six years longer than men. This means that they are more likely to face their last years alone and more likely to be incapacitated near the end of their lives. It is imperative that ever woman appoints someone trustworthy who can make important financial decisions for them if that time comes after their spouse has passed on.
- Reevaluate your estate plan after your spouse’s death. You might have planned your entire lives together, but when you are left alone, with whatever assets you have accumulated, you have a lot of important decisions to make. Ensuring that you have enough retirement assets and ensuring that your family’s wealth goes to the people and causes you care about most should be two of your top priorities.
- Don’t forget about estate planning during a divorce. Studies show that women are more likely to secure the marital house during a divorce and less likely to secure their fair share of retirement accounts and investments. Even if you are divorcing at a young age, remember that your future estate is in the balance – and that in many states you have a right to your fair share of the family retirement account.
- Trusts aren’t just for the super wealthy. It’s a misconception that only the rich need to utilize trusts in their estate planning. In reality, many people benefit from trusts, including women who wish to provide for their children from a previous marriage.
- Remarry with caution. It is becoming more and more common for female seniors to remarry – either after a spouse dies or after a late-in-life divorce. Women considering remarriage should be sure to protect the financial interests of themselves and their children before making their vows. This could include a prenuptial agreement, a gift-giving plan for your children and loved ones, and the creation of trusts.
If you would like to discuss how your estate plan can meet you and your families needs, please contact our office.