Estate planning is the personal responsibility of every adult American. Of course, that doesn’t mean that certain groups don’t have special concerns, especially women. Not surprisingly, Deborah L. Jacobs has written in Forbes about the case for women to come to grips with estate planning. Estate planning tends to have a disproportionate effect on women. They tend to longer* than their mates, tend to marry older men and tend to have lower lifetime earnings. As a result, women are more likely to be alive when the estate plans of their spouses go into effect. As the surviving spouse, typically all of the marital assets owned by a couple are transferred to the wife. This forces many women to take on new responsibilities for their own finances and estates. Ms. Jacobs has some practical estate planning advice for women, to include encouraging them to talk about estate planning. Whether that conversation is with a spouse, an adult child, or a parent, she offers suggestions in all three cases.
* Among Americans 65 and older, 42% of women are widowed compared to just 14% of men.
Reference: Forbes (August 9, 2011) “Nice Girls Talk About Estate Planning”