A Woman’s Guide to Estate Planning

It is an unfortunate truth, but everyone dies. On average, men have lower life expectancies than women. In addition to living longer, women, on average, earn less than men. When it comes to estate planning, there are a number of unique considerations for women. With the correct estate planning strategies, however, it is possible to account for these differences. The following will review some tips that women can follow when it comes to issues of incapacity and end-of-life planning.

Understand Your Assets (and Debts)

While it was once tradition for men to manage a household’s finances, that is the way of the past. Women today can and should take active control of managing their finances. This includes taking an inventory of all assets as well as any debts. Some of the important accounts that a person should monitor include checking accounts, saving accounts, retirement plans, and taxable investment accounts. It is also important to create plans for how these assets will be distributed following your death.

Make Sure Your Assets are Protected

Because women live longer than men, on average, it is crucial to make certain that your insurance coverage can support your financial needs in case your spouse passes on before you do. It is just as important to consider purchasing life insurance coverage so that any end-of-life expenses will be covered.

Create Plans for How Assets Will be Handled

One of the critical components of estate planning is creating a strategy for how your assets will be distributed following your death or incapacity. By performing planning in advance, you will gain control over how these assets are ultimately handled. Adequate planning means that a person has all of critical estate planning documents in place, which include the following:

  • A will that instructs how your assets will be distributed following your death
  • A living will that expresses your decisions for end of life care
  • A durable power of attorney that appoints someone to make medical decisions for a person who becomes incapacitated

Wills are Still an Important Consideration

Many women believe that they do not need a will. In reality, it is vital to have a will to determine how assets are passed. If an estate is large enough, however, it is sometimes a better idea to establish a trust. Without a will, the distribution of assets can run into a number of problems.

Assuming that You are Too Young for Issues of Disability Insurance

Statistics reveal that more than 50% of the population will become disabled before the age of 65. As a result, it is a wise idea to consider purchasing disability insurance. Without these costs, a person can end up spending a large amount of money on costs associated with care.

Remember to Create Advance Directives

In many marriages, women assume caregiver positions. It is critical, however, that women take their own health issues into consideration when estate planning. No matter if you recently had a minor surgery or are recovering from a serious medical condition, it is vital to have medical directives in place regarding your care. Healthcare directives can be used to communicate how you would like your healthcare decisions to be made in case you become incapacitated.

Decide Where You Will Live After Retirement

It is important to consider the numerous complications that can arise following retirement, which include where you will reside. If your spouse passes on before you,  the decision of where to live will fall solely on your shoulders. Some people benefit from researching retirement communities as an option. If you need assistance with daily living, it is often a better idea to arrange stay-at-home care.

Select a Skilled Estate Planning Advisor

Women should not hesitate to take control of managing their estate plans. Because estate planning laws are complex, it is a wise idea for anyone trying to make plans for the future to find an experienced estate planning advisor. Retaining the services of a knowledgeable tax advisor or financial planner can help you navigate the various issues that will inevitably arise.

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

If you need assistance with estate planning, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Melanie Tavare today to schedule your free initial consultation.