The Livens Law Firm

How is estate planning different for women?

Men and women alike could benefit from estate planning. The tools and strategies available for men and women are roughly the same, but there are often special elements in estate planning for Texas women to consider for retirement. A report by the United States Census Bureau suggests that the amount of widowed women over the age of 65 is at 36 percent.

One item to consider is that women are prone to outlive men and fail to notice what may happen if their family or husbands die, especially since only 12 percent of men who are over the age of 65 are widows. Women are often in a challenging situation in retirement if a majority of the income was from the husband and retirement benefits end upon the husband’s death. Women may want to look into their income when creating their estate plan, including death benefits and possible VA benefits.

When creating the estate plan, it’s important for women to be mindful of who is going to have authority over the finances and medical care. Furthermore, it’s essential to know one’s health status just in case there is potential for future health complications. In addition, women who are aging may want to sit down and have a discussion with family about their health care preferences.

Estate planning helps people to carry out their wishes after they die. A well-thought out estate plan can help avoid family disputes over assets in the future. Without some form of estate plan such as a will, the state will most likely rule the individual's estate as being intestate -- which means a probate judge will then distribute assets as deemed appropriate instead of according to a person's wishes. Texas residents may wish to fully research all of their estate planning tools available to them to ensure their documents are created in a legally binding manner.

Source: floridatoday.com, "Financial Q&A: Estate planning differs for women", , June 23, 2014

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