Many baby boomers have now reached retirement age and are starting to give serious thought to the legacy they will leave behind. They’ve worked hard their entire lives and many have sacrificed enormously to have something to leave behind for the next generation to carry on.
In light of this, it almost goes without saying that estate planning is a process that all Californians should be doing. But an often overlooked aspect of planning an estate is the role that gender plays.
It’s not that the law is different, it’s that women’s life situations and mentalities about the subject differ from men’s. Women are often in a caretaker role for the family and forget to consider who will take care of them should they become incapacitated.
Women also generally live longer than men. In the 65 or older age group, 36 percent of women are widowed, while this is true for only 12 percent of men. For families in which the husband is the sole bread winner, the loss of income could be devastating if there is no plan in place.
So what should women be doing to plan?
- Designate a health proxy you trust to make medical decisions for you.
- Draft a living will that specifies your wishes.
- Make sure your will names a guardian for any minor children.
- Choose someone you trust in designating your financial power of attorney.
- Before you remarry, consider the implications to your estate and plan accordingly.
Creating a thorough estate plan can seem like an overwhelming task, but a knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the process step-by-step, help you to protect your assets and to feel good about the legacy you will leave behind.
Source: marketwatch.com, “How women can make estate planning easier,” Andrea Coombes, May 8, 2014