CA Estate Planning Blog

Monday, May 16, 2016

Estate Planning for Women

Why is estate planning particularly important for women?

Whatever your age, gender or financial status, you should engage in estate planning. Nonetheless, experts tell us that estate planning often is more important for women, partly because it is one of the only aspects of taking responsibility that women tend to ignore. According to Patricia Annino, author of Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning, women, at least in our culture, are psychologically oriented toward taking care of others, rather than themselves. Even though estate planning will eventually benefit their loved ones, they tend to be focused on, even preoccupied with, meeting the daily needs of those around them, postponing essential planning for the future.

 What factors make estate planning essential for women in particular?

As most of us are aware, statistics show that women live, on average, 7 years longer than their mates. Not only that, but women tend to marry older spouses. On average, husbands are 2.3 years older than their wives. This combination of factors makes women three times as likely as men to be widowed by the age of 65. It is therefore essential that women plan not only for their retirement, but for the probability of their own failing health at sometime in the future.

In most cases, women will be the ones making decisions about later retirement planning and also the ones to have the final say about how the accumulated marital assets are handled and distributed. If there is a substantial amount of wealth involved, this means women will be the ones concerned with charitable giving as well as protecting the family estate, insofar as possible, from heavy taxation.

  • Along with their longer life expectancy, women have become increasingly important in the workplace. No longer merely contributing to the family income, they are often executives, or even owners of companies, who wield tremendous financial power. Presently, women control over half of the wealth in the United States. Estate planning is the only legal pathway a woman can follow to ensure that her wealth is distributed according to her wishes after she passes on.

Because life is so unpredictable, none of us should assume that the law of averages necessarily applies to us. Both partners, whether they are male or female, straight or gay, should have carefully crafted estate plans. In order to do this, it is best to consult with a wills and trusts attorney who has the in-depth knowledge and finely honed skills to assist you in making the wisest possible decisions


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