The demographics of wealth in the United States are changing rapidly. Increasingly, women control financial resources that in many cases are greater than those of their significant other. Indeed, one estimate claims that women currently control $14 trillion worth of assets with that figure projected to grow to as much as $20 trillion in the next six years. This has substantial effect on estate planning by women, since they now have more resources to actively manage.
One consideration involved is that women on average have life spans that are six years greater than men’s. This means that women are likely to outlive their husbands and will likely want to take that into consideration when planning for later years. Additionally, longevity may mean facing end-of-life incapacities. For this reason, women may want to look at the potential benefits of assigning durable power of attorney to someone they trust.
If that isn’t the desired approach, a revocable living trust is another popular option. Such a trust is an effective way to protect assets. It does so by determining specific instructions for how the woman’s assets will be distributed when she dies.
Longevity also means that women are particularly likely to wind up taking care of their elderly parents. They may also contribute to the care of disabled relatives. These are additional important considerations for women doing estate planning.
There are many more potential approaches that women pursuing estate planning may wish to consider. Becoming well-informed about the options as soon as possible can make later years more prosperous and peaceful. Those options can be explored with the help of a qualified professional.
Source: Life Health Pro, “6 estate planning tips for women,” June 30, 2014.