Estate planning techniques vary for all sorts of reasons. Married couples will approach estate planning differently than single people. Parents will have different estate planning concerns than those without children.
But there’s another group—often overlooked—that has unique estate planning interests: women.
Why do women need to think about estate planning differently?
Women, on average, live longer than men. As a result, they are more likely to be widowed. (The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 36 percent of women age 65 and older are widowed, compared with 12 percent of men, according to a recent MarketWatch article.) Elderly women often live alone and are more likely to need assistance with the activities of daily living as they get older.
This means that many women will need to plan to manage their finances after their spouse is gone. Consider the example, cited in the article, of the woman whose husband chooses to receive the maximum pension benefit during his lifetime. If he passes away before her (which is likely), she will lose that source of income.
In addition, women will need to think about their health care as they age. Women who are widowed or who live alone should plan for who will take care of them in the event that they can’t take care of themselves. This includes creating a health care power of attorney, which allows a designated person to make health care decisions for her if she can’t do so herself, and planning to pay for a nursing home or other care.
Women are also more likely to be caregivers: according to the Family Caregiver Alliance of the National Center on Caregiving, women spend 50 percent more time providing care than men.
Caregiving is not only time-consuming; it is also expensive, both in the short and long-term. Caregivers are more likely to take time off from work and to retire, which affects the amount of retirement income they have. If they do go back to work after caregiving, they are more likely to earn lower wages and have fewer retirement benefits.
Because caregiving can significantly affect their finances, it becomes that much more important for women to plan.
At Lovett & House Co., LPA, our Dayton, Ohio, estate planning lawyers have experience helping women create estate plans that protect them and their families for years to come. If you have questions about estate planning for women, please call us today.
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