Millions of women today are financially independent. In fact, women currently control at least 32% of all global wealth. Between accumulated assets from personally owned businesses, home purchases, and investments, women are in a unique position to plan for their estate and support their loved ones.
Despite the fact that more women are becoming the breadwinners of their households and managing family assets, many still haven’t created an estate plan. Currently only 14% of women have some type of an estate plan in place. However, an estate plan is essential to achieving control of your finances, especially as a woman.
A complete estate and trust plan gives you the ability to determine who will receive the things you own after you die or can no longer make financial decisions. Without an estate plan, your assets may not be left to the people you wanted or distributed by the court.
You don’t need to be wealthy to have an estate. If you own anything, it can be included in your estate. The following items can be considered part of your estate:
- Savings accounts.
- Checking accounts.
- Life insurance.
Top 3 women’s estate planning mistakes
On average, women live about five years longer than men. As a result, women will most likely assume sole responsibility for their finances, whether after the death of their spouse or after divorce. About 90% of women will be solely responsible for their household’s finances at some point in their lifetime.
Knowing some of the most common estate planning mistakes women make, including the following, can help you plan with less hassle:
1. Procrastination — Many women believe that you have to be older, wealthy or married to plan for your estate. As a result, you may be tempted to push off creating an estate plan until you are more financially established. However, tragedy can happen at any time. If you have assets like a home, you need to protect them, especially if you’re single. Without someone like a spouse to legally assume your possessions, your assets could be distributed in a way that conflicts with your goals. Procrastinating from estate planning, therefore, can be devastating.
2. Believing that you don’t need an estate plan — If you are married and your spouse has an estate plan, you may think you don’t need to plan your own. However, you may have assets that are personally significant to you that you want to protect. Plus, in the event of your death or illness, you need to appoint someone to make your medical and financial decisions — whether that be your spouse or someone else. Your estate plan can include all of that information. You can coordinate your estate plan with your spouse so that you are both on the same page.
3. Failure to update your estate plan — If you established an estate plan a long time ago, it is crucial that you make sure it is updated. If you don’t, your assets may be contested through legal battles if something happens to you. Your assets need to be retitled in the event of your spouse’s passing, if you remarry, if you had another child, if you get divorced, or if it’s been longer than three years.
Talk to a ProVise CFP® professional about women’s estate planning
At ProVise Management Group, our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals can get to know you and your current financial circumstances, goals, risk tolerance and personal values to help you develop a plan that works for you. We can also create a written plan for you at a fiduciary standard of care. All our written plans come with an unconditional money-back guarantee. If you are unhappy with your written plan, you can return it to us, and we will refund 100% of the fee paid.
Are you ready to talk to a professional about women’s estate planning? Contact ProVise today to schedule a complimentary consultation.