In this modern era it is not uncommon for women to accumulate significant assets of their own during their lifetime, and when they pass away they’ll want to leave those assets to their loved ones. In addition to the fact that women are accumulating more of their own assets, on average a woman’s life expectancy will be longer than a man’s. When you combine this with the fact that women usually marry men that are older, there is a good chance they will inherit assets, too.
Some additional considerations when it comes to women include that they often need to plan carefully for retirement, as well as disability. Many women will have less money with which to retire than men. For this reason a carefully structured estate plan is a necessity so that the assets that are available will stretch as far as possible. A woman’s spouse may want to think about leaving the estate to his wife through a trust so that if the woman should become disabled later in life, a guardianship of the estate can be avoided.
Though the estate plan has always been something with which women should be concerned, today it is even more important with more and more women dying and leaving behind significant assets.
A trust or will can ensure that your assets pass to those you want to have them, but proper distribution of assets is far from the only reason to have an estate plan. You should also include a Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney and a HIPAA release in your estate plan. If you should ever be in a position where you cannot make your own medical decisions, these documents are vital.
Another important document is a Durable Property or Financial Power of Attorney. With this document you will name someone to handle your estate matters if you are ill or in a position to where you cannot take care of these matters on your own. An example of why such a Durable Power of Attorney could be important would include if you were hospitalized and unable to pay your bills or access your funds, the agent you have appointed in your Power of Attorney could take care of these things for you.
Men and women both need an estate plan, and due to the fact that laws can be so complex it is important that you consult an experienced estate planning attorney to help you setup a solid plan that will protect you, as well as your loved ones.