Let me get it out of the way…the elephant in the room after such a polarizing title. Estate planning is for everyone. Period. Regardless of your age, your marital status, your perceived wealth, or your family size, everyone benefits from preparing for the unexpected, covering essentials, ensuring a lifestyle, and ultimately leaving a legacy with minimal probate and family disputes.
Women have a five year lengthier lifespan than men. If you’re single, you may specifically lay out how your assets are (or are not) distributed; think: family members, charitable organizations, reflecting your passions and pursuits, friends, or even your animals. Are you the Ultimate Auntie? Estate planning can set your heirs up for success, perhaps by creating an educational trust. Estate planning can even provide the opportunity to be in control of your medical decisions in the unfortunate event you may not be in a position to communicate your wishes. Estate planning may give you the ability to keep your assets and distributions private (through a vehicle like a Trust) by avoiding probate (a public process).
Married women, statistically, enter widowhood, ultimately becoming responsible for the administration of the wealth and other estate matters. A U.S. News article written by Coryanne Hicks points out, “it is typically the female’s estate plan that controls the ultimate disposition of wealth within, or outside, the family. But women may have had less involvement in decisions prior to the death of their spouse – at least historically…[G]iving women a solid foundation with which to make the final decisions around family wealth becomes all the more important.” Each client’s goals are different, of course, and are rarely differentiated by sex or what a family looks like. After all, each individual’s estate planning goals are as unique as his or her thumbprint. However, having increased female presence in the estate planning field brings value and balance to addressing these distinct goals.
I’m so grateful to know so many women in this field. I’m currently serving as President of the only Women’s Estate Planning organization in the United States! Per my observations and experiences, women are becoming increasingly involved in this profession, and for good reason! While traditional gender roles continue to evolve, clients are seeking representation who can also relate to their life experiences. Proactively seeking out women advisors benefits our clients. I’m so proud to be a part of a profession helping other women talk about hard conversations! At Legacy Planning and Probate, we strive to make conversations about death, divorce, and taxes approachable and educational.
Your health, wealth, and legacy are worth planning for tomorrow, today.