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The Importance of Estate Planning for Women

Estate Planning for Women is important for an entire family, but especially for women as women live longer than men and therefore need to manage living expenses for a longer period of time. Also they’re likelier to be custodial parents and have guardianship.

No matter what your financial situation, everyone should have an estate plan as well as a last will and testament. That’s true for men and women, but women face challenges that make it even more important for them to start planning sooner rather than later.

“Estate planning is different for women and men, but not because of anything technical. It’s different because of the different way women approach the process,” said Patricia Annino, attorney and author of “Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau. 36% of women 65 and older are widowed, compared with 12% of men 65 and older.

When making your plans, be sure the wife is in charge and beneficiary of the estate. Otherwise, she is at the whim of someone else.

In an article by Andrea Coombes in Market Watch.com, Coombes suggests that women start talking to their families about what their estate now. It doesn’t apply just to married women but for daughters who may be caregivers for an ailing parent. They should talk to their siblings and their parents about the potential implications of their care-giving time and consider those implications for how the parent’s estate is divided.

A few things to consider when creating your plan:

Create Joint Account What happens if you or your spouse become incapacitated or dies suddenly. Someone needs power-of attorney in case something happens to one or the other. It can take a lot of time for the other spouse to obtain legal access to the deceased's individual accounts. While you're trying to work through that process, expenses go on. A co-signature or joint account allows both spouses to access funds.

Estate Planning Matters

Angie Mohr wrote on Investopedia that there could be tax issues when transferring assets after your death. Transfers to a living spouse are tax-free, but willing assets to adult children may cause the estate to have to pay tax. Mohr said this could lead to having to sell off assets to pay the taxes. It's important to plan ahead to minimizes taxes and ensure that your family and beneficiaries receive the maximum amount of your assets.

Who will make your medical decisions?

It's equally critical that you have an advance directive and living will naming the person who will make health-care decisions for you if you can’t. A living will specifying your end-of-life wishes will solve that issue.

Is there a difference between a will and a living trust?

Deborah Jacobs wrote in Forbes, Estate Planning for Women (And the Men Who Love Them), that a common mistake is that living (revocable) trusts avoids estate taxes. It does not. Either or both a will and a living trust can be used to transfer assets. A living trust can hold assets for your benefit while you are alive but infirm. Only a will can be used to appoint a guardian for a child.

For more information about estate planning for women or any other questions regarding estate planning, please contact us.

Categories: Estate Planning
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