By Cristin Harris Rigg, CFP®, CDFA™
Personal Wealth Advisor

 

Studies repeatedly show that many women have longer life spans than their partners but at some point may face challenges that come with aging, such as widowhood, or physical or mental decline. We recommend women take steps to build their support networks and make plans throughout their lives to ensure their financial well-being and security. Often overlooked, estate plans should be part of every woman’s long-term financial journey.

The Importance of Estate Planning

Most people possess an estate of some sort – home or other property, investments, retirement plans, bank accounts and, in some cases, business ownerships or partnerships. All these assets can be affected by taxes, so it is best for women and their loved ones to get all of their ducks in a row sooner rather than later.

It is important for women to understand the various elements and complexities of estate planning and how they relate to a host of financial issues including:

• Differences among a durable power of attorney, living trust, health care proxy and will
• Tax ramifications of estate plans
• Effects on life insurance policies
• Need for cash availability
• Providing for beneficiaries and/or charities
• Safeguarding assets

More specifically, as women continue to take greater charge of their financial well-being and assess their fiscal health at every stage of their professional careers and personal lives, we outline how estate planning can bolster their own long-term fiscal strategies. Having a solid estate plan supports the financial strength and independence women have achieved through years of hard work, dedication and focus.

How To Begin Estate Planning

We advise women that it is never too early or too late to engage in long-term estate planning. Being involved in the process helps women gain the knowledge to evaluate and discuss estate planning with partners, parents or adult children.¹ For women beginning the estate planning process we recommend:

• Finding trusted advisors and colleagues with whom they can discuss estate planning: their own as well as how to approach talking about estate planning with aging parents, grown children or significant others.

• Securing important information and documents as they develop estate plans, so they are prepared to confidently move forward when estate plans take effect.

Estate planning has always been a key part of any comprehensive financial planning strategy. As women in particular continue to work longer, live longer and gain financial independence, we recommend they take steps to understand and develop their own estate plans, and prepare for in-depth conversations about estate plans with family members and significant others.

Contact Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. to learn more about including an estate plan as part of your overall financial plan.

 

1. Ebeling, Ashlea. Forbes, “Why Estate Planning is a Women’s Issue.” July 10, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2018/07/10/why-estate-planning-is-a-womens-issue/#2bc54154536e