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Estate planning for women (It's different)

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Estate planning is important for everyone, but there are some unique considerations for women, and you are likely to have distinct needs to address. Regardless of your net worth or marital status, you must make decisions today to protect yourself, your assets and your loved ones. 

But why is estate planning different for women? Read below for an analysis of how life expectancy, work history and custody of children impact estate planning considerations.

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.

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