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Estate Planning for Women Different in a Few Key Areas

June 8, 2014

Regardless of whether you’re female or male, the main strategy for planning out your estate should be more or less similar. Where the differences lie are in the details, and in later-life.

To start with, women statistically live quite a bit longer than men. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that of individuals over the age of 65, 36% of women are widowed compared to just 12% of men. This means that medical bills and retirement costs will have to be paid on a single income, as any applicable social security and pension benefits will stop upon the husband’s death.

Another factor that comes into play is the fact that women are statistically more likely to have custody over children, as well as being more likely to be taking care of elderly parents.

So how should these things factor into your estate plan?

First and foremost, finances. You will need to know exactly where all your income (and future income) are coming from, how much you will be getting, whether you’ll receive any spousal benefits, or Medicaid/VA assistance, etc. Once you have everything lined up, you will be able to start making notes against that column about costs. You can plan for health care, and whether long-term care will be needed.

Another thing you need to make sure to do is be involved in every step of the planning process. Obviously for single females this is more of a necessity, but regardless, you need to be involved to raise concerns of children, parents, possible health conditions, etc.

One final thing worth mentioning is about caring for an aging parent. You will need to talk with your parent about their own estate plan, and whether their plan has the ability to cover long-term care, or what the plan is if it does not. Obviously you will need to discuss this with other siblings as well, since the implications and repercussions will almost certainly affect them as well.

These issues may seem minor to some, but the truth is that these will turn into serious problems if they are not taken care of ahead of time, and if you find yourself late in life in an emergency situation, it is already too late to fix the plan.