One of the most important trends in the landscape of estate planning, is the increasing importance of women in forming estate plans. The economic power of women is growing, and according to the U.S. Trust, “more than half (52 %) of women came into their marriage or relationship with financial assets equal to or greater than their spouse or partner, and one-third (33 %) of women are now the primary income earner or contribute equally to household wealth.” Women are currently on track to be in control of $20 trillion in assets by 2020.
Estate planners dealing with women who bring their own wealth to the table may want to keep the following issues in mind:
- Durable power of attorney and LTCI (Long term care insurance)
- Assets– creating a revocable living trust
- Caring for elderly parents or family
- Create an estate plan
- Revise the estate plan for a second marriage
- Make long-term changes to financial planning – divorce, a retirement account, and pension plans can all have an effect on estate planning
Women will typically live longer on average than men, but will also generally have less money with which to do so. In other words, women will often have have “longevity risk.” There are certain aspects of estate planning for women that should be considered when planning for retirement, or just for their future, such as the fact that women tend to live longer than men. One key aspect of estate planning that women often overlook is what will happen when their husband, parents or other relatives die. This can result in issues when a majority of a couple’s income is the husband’s Social Security or pension, which will cease upon death. Also, the fact that women often will have custody over, or offer care to, their own elder parents, and/or their children.
What Women Should Consider When Making Their Estate Plan
- Take a good look at your income.
- Take an active part in the planning process.
- Also, if you are caring for an aging parent, make it a point to talk to your siblings and parents about the potential implications.
There is much advice to be discerned on the topic, and the assistance of experienced estate planning legal counsel is imperative.