When is the last time you thought about your estate plan? If you are like most women, you probably do not think about it frequently. However, creating a comprehensive estate plan is especially important as a woman. If you’re a woman, you’ll likely be managing your finances on your own at some point and will be responsible for the ultimate disposition of your wealth if you’re single, and for your spouse’s as well, if you’re married. An estate plan saves time and money, and can also provide protections for your assets upon your passing. Women face unique estate planning challenges considering their potential roles as business owners, mothers, and wives. It’s important for women to create an estate plan that protects yourself while you are living and protects your loved ones after you have passed.
Women tend to live longer than men.
Women are living longer than ever before and on average live 4.9 years longer than men. A married woman may assume she does not need a will if her spouse has one, or she may think she simply does not have sufficient assets in her own name to warrant making a will. These assumptions are incorrect. Women are almost four times more likely to be widowed meaning women are often inheriting twice, once from their parents and then again from their spouse. A longer life-expectancy rate and potential to be widowed or remain single means that women have additional planning needs to consider. Women need to ensure their assets can last for a longer period and must plan their estate to ensure her own financial security and that of children or other family members.
Women are business owners and professionals.
More women are professionals, own businesses, or are entering professions with higher salaries such as doctor, lawyer, or business executive. Women who are business owners need to protect their assets and have a plan in place. Women in professions with high litigation risks like medicine, law, and real estate, can also benefit from asset protection planning. Some women may also face financial challenges due to shorter work histories, prompted by putting their careers on hold to raise families. This break in pay could reduce the amount of savings these women will accumulate for their retirement. Creating an estate plan can help ensure their assets can last for a longer period.
Women tend to earn less during their lives then men.
Women earn less money over their lifetimes than men. Full-time working women earned only 81.2 cents (81%) for each dollar a man earned according to the latest statistics. Considering that women often work fewer years than men in order to care for home and family, their ability to save is significantly reduced. Because women must plan to make fewer dollars last longer, it’s important for them to create an estate plan with this in mind.
Many women are mothers.
Women who are parents of young children need to plan for the continued care of those children if something unforeseen should happen. They also need to determine who will handle the children’s property until they are older.
Creating an estate plan
Women face unique estate planning challenges considering their potential roles as business owners, mothers, and wives. Creating an estate plan protects yourself while you are living and protects your loved ones after you have passed. If you have an estate plan, your wishes for the distribution of your assets are more likely to be carried out, tax liabilities can be minimized, and your loved ones will not be faced with an extended and expensive process of settling your estate. Failure to plan can lead to unnecessary negative consequences for loved ones such as distribution of assets to unintended beneficiaries, excessive and unnecessary tax liabilities, and forced sale of assets to raise funds to pay inheritance taxes and other estate liabilities.
Reviewing your estate plan
If you have not reviewed your estate plan in a few years years, it’s time for a review. It is important to review your estate planning documents every couple of years to make sure they are up to date. New tax laws may have changed the outcomes from your estate plan. Additionally, anytime there is a big change in your life such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, purchases of a home or a business, or a major change in financial status, it’s time for a review.
If you do not yet have an estate plan, by creating an estate plan, you will gain full control over how your assets are disposed and create a plan for incapacity in case you become physically or mentally unable to make decisions.
The main takeaway
Regardless of marital status or net worth, women need to make decisions and arrangements to protect themselves, their spouses, and loved ones in case of incapacity or death. Whether you’re a single woman looking to develop a plan or a married woman preparing for a spouse’s passing, it is important to plan for incapacity or death and ensure that your assets are distributed appropriately.
Today women face unique circumstances that make it even more important for them to have a comprehensive estate plan. The fact that women are likely to outlive their spouses makes an updated, comprehensive estate plan all the more important. Millennial women, whether married or single, also ought to consider creating an estate plan.
It’s important to know what you should be doing to manage your wealth no matter your age or current income level. As women, it’s essential that we take an active role in managing our finances, protecting our assets and having a clear plan for distributing those assets in the future. Additionally, consider advising your parents (especially moms who will generally outlive dads) who might not have an estate plan to review their assets. Make sure they are in good shape in the event of a death or divorce.
Contact Skillern Law Firm Today
If you don’t have an estate plan, stop postponing and make an appointment with an estate planning attorney, as soon as possible. The attorney at Skillern Law Firm, PLLC will be able to help you navigate through establishing or updating an estate plan. Contact us today at 918-805-2511 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can book an appointment online today using our Book an Online Appointment page!