Obviously, estate planning is not a situation where one size fits all. For instance, a younger married couple with kids would need to consider prospective guardians for their children, while someone retired about to enter a second marriage could prioritize ways to ensure that certain assets go to the children from the first marriage.
However, gender is an issue that many people do not realize exists. Estate planning is different for women – really! Here is why.
Women may have fewer savings
There are many reasons why women tend to have less money saved than men. The gender pay gap means that women receive less pay than men. Also, many women stay at home with their children, often for years at a time, instead of working and earning money. In addition, women may be more likely than men to work part-time or in jobs that do not have retirement plans.
The net result when it comes to estate planning is that women may have to think creatively or be even more proactive about safeguarding their assets and making them last longer.
Women tend to live longer
If you are a married woman, you are likely to outlive your husband by about five years. You may have unique considerations such as ensuring you have the means to support yourself. You will also have to plan so that your assets last longer.
Women may be working with an incomplete picture
Unfortunately, some married women are in the dark about all of their assets. For instance, their husbands may have taken care of the finances, and the wives might not know how much money is in retirement savings or in the bank accounts. These wives might not even take an active role in estate planning.
Whether or not a woman trusts her husband to act in her best interests, it is critical for her to understand estate planning options and the rationale behind any recommendations.