Estate Planning, Especially for Women

Fitting the Planning Pieces TogetherEveryone who’ll be leaving this world needs an estate plan, and they probably need financial planning while they are here. Women in particular should pay attention to this crucial and life-affirming process.

Regardless of marital status or net worth, women need to make decisions and arrangements today in order to protect themselves, their husbands or partners, and other loved ones in case of incapacity or death. Here are the top six reasons it is it especially important for women to make estate planning a priority.

1. Women tend to live longer than men

Women live an average of 4.9 years longer than men.(1) That means women need their assets to last longer than men do. It also means that wives are probably going to outlive their husbands, so they will likely inherit their husbands’ estates, and they will probably have the last word about the final disposition of assets going to the couple’s heirs.

2. Women tend to earn less during their lives than men

Full-time working women earned only 81.2 cents for each dollar a man earned in 2010.(2) Also, women work fewer years than men in order to care for home and family, further reducing their ability to save.(3) Simply put, women earn less money over their lifetimes than men. Because women must plan to make fewer dollars last longer, it’s important for them to get sound retirement planning advice.

3. Most custodial parents are women

Approximately 84% of custodial parents are women.(4) Women who are parents of young children need to plan for the continued care of those children if something unforeseen should happen. They also need to determine who will handle the children’s property until they are older.

4. Women are business owners

Women owned 7.8 million businesses in the US in 2007, up 20.1% from 2002.(5) Women who are business owners need to protect their assets and plan for the succession of their businesses.

5. Women are professionals

Women make up 57.5% of professional occupations.(6) Women in professions with high litigation risks like medicine, law, and real estate, can benefit from asset protection planning.

6. Women are wealthy

Women control $14 trillion in assets (7) and three-fourths of the financial wealth in the United States. (8) It’s important for women to get sound investment, charitable giving, and tax planning advice.

Today women face unique circumstances that make it vital for them to educate themselves about estate planning and consult an experienced estate and financial planning professional to provide for a secure future.

Notes:

  1. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 59, No. 4, March 2011
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women at Work report, March 2011
  3. GAO-04-35, Oct. 31, 2003
  4. U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support report, Nov. 2009
  5. U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features article, Jan. 26, 2011
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Table 11, “Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity,” 2010
  7. Center for Women’s Business Research, 2005
  8. Womensvoicesforchange.org, July 21, 2011

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