All women, married, widowed, divorced, or single; homemakers, caregivers, professionals, or business owners need to understand estate planning and have a plan of their own in place. As a result, there is an increased need to plan for physical and/or mental incapacity that can occur in later years. Long-term care insurance, purchased in advance, can help cover the costs of incapacity and can even help one remain in their home for as long as possible.
Women are typically the caregivers and as such are naturally concerned about the care and education of their children and grandchildren. Aging parents, a child/grandchild with special needs, or even a beloved pet, who depend on them need to be included in estate planning. Special planning can provide needed care without jeopardizing valuable government benefits. Additional life insurance may be purchased or a trust can be created to provide funds for the education of grandchildren.
Women, who have no children, may want certain friends or charitable organizations to receive their possessions, but without a valid estate plan, the laws of your state will dictate who will receive them. Additionally, if they are in a relationship but not legally married, their partner will not receive anything unless the estate plan explicitly provides for it.
For women who are charitably inclined, philanthropy often becomes an integral part of their estate planning. If assets are to go to a favorite charitable, religious, or educational organization, that information must be included in estate planning.
Professional women in high-litigation areas like medicine, law, and real estate must be concerned about protecting their assets from lawsuits. Many women are also business owners. They need to plan for what will happen to their business when they are no longer involved due to incapacity, retirement, or death. The time to plan for asset protection is before any potential threat arises.
Women live longer, which means they are likely to become widowed and live on their own for a number of years. Without proper estate planning while married, many will see their standard of living reduced during their retirement years. Those in second marriages will need estate planning that provides for the surviving spouse, but does not disinherit children from a previous marriage.
Therefore, a woman who has participated in the planning process will more easily understand it and hopefully feel empowered. Be Educated! Be Proactive!