September 06, 2017
Most women are not considering estate planning after their death, yet it's something that they should be thinking about. Considering that the average man in the US lives to age 76.4 and a woman will live to 81.6. This is a difference of about 4.8 years, which means that many times women will be left to do the estate planning after their spouse passes away. This is something that women need to be thinking about to ensure that their assets are protected if something were to happen to them.
What Should Women Be Doing to Plan Their Estate?
It is important when you are planning your estate that you seek the help of professionals in the field to ensure that you are covering all of your bases and protecting all of your assets. However, remember when planning to protect your estate that there are some universal rules that you should make sure you have followed in planning for the future of your property and assets after you have moved on from this life.
Some of these tips when it comes to estate planning includes the following:
- Understand Your Financial Assets: Understand what investments you happen to have and how much investment you have in each certain sort of asset. Take inventory of everything you have from jewelry to cash to property values and include it in your estate planning documentation. Know your true investment value to ensure that you include all checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement investments, stocks, bonds, and properties you include to name a few things that count in your total "net worth".
- Protect Your Finances: Check with your insurance company to make sure that your financial assets are still covered even if your spouse passes away.
- Consider Additional Life Insurance: This can help cover any additional financial expenses that you may have upon your death. This can also cover taking care of anyone who has also been "dependent" on you for financial stability such as a disabled family member or children you wish to leave in a good financial situation.
- Have Your Documents In Place: Ensure that you have a will, a living will, and a durable power of attorney for healthcare in place so all of your legal documents ready. Once your documents are ready ensure your savings accounts are tilted to match what you have declared in your documentation. This includes formally registering and titling your plans accordingly as well.
- Think of the Small Stuff: Even items you may not think are terribly important like jewelry or furniture should be listed in your will. If it's not listed the person that was listed in your will legally may not be able to claim what you intended them to have. Itemize things and divide them in the way you want them to be distributed after your passing.
- Appoint a Guardian to Your Estate: While this may be a tough decision if you have several children or many people who you trust, you need to make the decision. While it may involve "hurt feelings" in some respects, in others its worse to leave the decision unmade, because upon your passing there is nothing loved ones can do unless it's legally documented who you want to take care of your estate. What you verbally told them will do no good. Only legal documents will matter in the eyes of the courts.
- Consider Income Tax Ramifications: Spreading your estate out among several people may be necessary if you have a larger piece of property or higher net worth. Consider how much people will be paying in taxes before they get the benefits of your estate. Putting someone up too many tax brackets higher may cause them to lose more than they gain from inheriting your estate. This includes estate as well as all accounts such as savings, checking, IRA, 401K, and other liquid assets that you happen to leave behind.
- Instill in the Help of a Legal Advisor: Always have a legal advisor and attorney check tour documents to make sure that there will be no legal loopholes that can cause your loved one problems after your death. Even though you may think you covered all your bases, it's better safe than sorry. Someone educated in that field will be able to help you the best!