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Strategies for estate planning especially important for women

Crafting an estate plan is vital for everyone in New York State, but it is particularly important for women. There are a variety of reasons for this. It might not be an issue that takes up a great deal of their thoughts, but that does not make it any less imperative. Since women live an average of nearly five more years than men, it is wise to think about this in the context of estate planning strategies. The assets they have will need to last longer; they might have a different work history and income; and finances could be negatively affected by the decision to be a stay-at-home parent.

Having a checklist of what to do to prepare for the future can avoid problems later. Knowing the financial assets is integral to effective planning and management. Having a full accounting of what is in savings and checking accounts, investment accounts and retirement plans is essential. The management of these assets should also be considered. The distribution of these assets after death can hinge on planning for it. The protection of financial assets can be boosted with insurance. If the spouse dies first, insurance can account for financial necessities and for the testator after her death to cover estate taxes and funeral costs.

The basis of estate planning is to let the person craft documents that will detail how they want their assets distributed after they die. Such documents as wills, a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will and other documents are the foundation for this. The will details how the assets will be distributed. A living will states how the person wants end-of-life care to be handled. A durable power of attorney for health appoints one or more people to make medical decisions on the testator's behalf if he or she cannot do it on their own.

Strategies for a comprehensive estate plan are important for everyone, but certain issues make it key for women to have an idea of how they want to move forward. Having legal assistance that is tailored to the individual's situation is a foundational part of estate planning and should not be ignored. Contacting a lawyer experienced in all aspects of the process is the first step.

Source: forbes.com, "It's Different For Women In Estate Planning," Larry Light, Aug. 25, 2017

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