Attorneys Stephen Korshak and Lee Karina Dani

Estate planning for women (it’s not the same)

by | Sep 18, 2017 | Estate Planning |


Estate planning is important for men and women, young and old. But many women are not aware of just how useful estate planning can be.

Women outlive their male counterparts and often work more years in the process. Many women also become responsible for managing assets that they accumulated with their deceased partners. 

Women should take time to review their situations and create estate plans that will make their lives easier as they get older. Because they are more likely to outlive their spouses and partners, they should take into consideration their retirement and end-of-life care needs too. Here is a brief overview of steps women can take to protect their wealth. 

Use advanced estate planning documents 

The chances for longer life expectancy is higher for women than their husbands. Their partners may no longer be around to assist them.

Women should consider creating a durable power of attorney so they can choose someone they trust to handle their assets and finances. They should also choose someone to act as their health care power of attorney to instruct their loved ones about their medical preferences in the event of them becoming physically and mentally incapacitated. Other important estate planning documents that may be beneficial include living wills and trusts. 

Inventory their financial profile 

It is important for women to assess their financial profiles to determine the value of every single asset they own. Because values of certain assets may change from time to time, they should review their financial holdings and update any changes as needed to ensure their estate plans are accurate and values are current. 

Plan for the distribution of wealth and assets 

One of the most important aspects of estate planning is making decisions about the distribution of assets and wealth. Women should go over their plans to ensure their instructions are easy to understand and there are no loopholes that their loved ones could exploit to cheat their siblings out of their inheritances.

Women should also take measures to prevent conflict and disputes among family members and to keep their final wishes intact. When choosing beneficiaries, they should name them by their legal names. They should also consider they may live longer than they expect and draft their plans to reflect that possibility. 

Women should be proactive when it comes to estate planning. It offers an effective way to protect assets, property, and heirs. With the right estate planning documents and strategies, women can keep control over their wealth while they are alive and pass it on to whomever they choose once they die without the interference of the courts or others who seek to benefit from their estate. 

Women typically live longer

According to Forbes magazine, women live 4.9 years longer than their male counterparts on average. This means you may need your assets to last longer. It also means you could outlive your husband (if you have one) and inherit his estate. Because of your longer life expectancy, it is important to take stock of your assets, manage your finances carefully and determine ahead of time how you want them managed and distributed in the future.

Women typically earn less

In general, women do not make as much as men. You may also have a shorter work history if you, like many women, choose to leave the workforce to care for your children. These financial factors could cause you to have less in savings, which means you must make smart decisions about retirement, long-term care and beneficiaries.

Women are typically custodial parents

If you get a divorce, you have a significant chance of becoming the custodial parent. If you have young children, you must think about how they will be cared for if something unfortunate should happen to you and the other parent is not around, or does not have the financial resources to provide for them as you would.

With these basic considerations in mind, you should craft an estate plan that addresses your unique needs. There are some essential estate planning documents you should consider putting into place, including a will, health care surrogate and a power of attorney. You can prepare for whatever the future may hold with the right advice from professionals.