As more equality has been achieved in New York and across the United States, the role that women play in estate planning has also shifted. While men used to bring in the majority of the wealth in a marriage, that has been changing, and studies show that just over half of women who get married have wealth or assets that are at least equal to – if not greater than – the wealth of the men that they marry. A full third of those women are considered to be the primary earners for their families.

Among other things, this means that estate planning for women is now more important than it has ever been before. It is crucial that they understand their rights and their role in the process. These tips can help.

First, women should specify someone to hold their power of attorney, allowing that person to make decisions for them if they are unable to do so due to mental or physical ailments. This is an increased need for women since they live longer than their husbands – the average is right around six years longer – so they could be susceptible to these issues.

Next, women should set up a system that will help them if they need to care for their own parents. Again, seeing as how women often outlive their husbands, they may be fully in charge of providing this care to an elderly parent even if their own husband has already passed away. This plan may need to be altered by someone who is given the power of attorney if both parents and children end up needing care.

Finally, if women are married for a second time, they may want to consider making revisions to the estate plan to take this into account. They must be aware that their assets could be utilized in a second marriage if that spouse ends up needing medical assistance and care, even if the assets are from their first marriage.

 

Source: Source: Life Health Pro, “6 estate planning tips for women,” Tom Nawrocki, June 30, 2014