Estate planning is vital for women

While estate planning had long been a field dominated by men, there’s a growing realization that it’s of even greater importance for women.


The reason is simple: They live longer.

“Women live longer on average and tend to marry older spouses, making them three times as likely as men to be widowed at 65,” according to a recent article in Forbes Magazine. “So for women, estate planning is a crucial part of retirement planning. And since they usually survive their spouses, women more often have the last word about how much wealth goes to family, charity or the taxman.”

“They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but is this true when it comes to estate planning? Absolutely,” according to the website 360 Degrees of Financial Planning, maintained by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “And because women often find themselves in such different circumstances than men, it is even more crucial for them to educate themselves about estate planning, and consult an experienced estate planning professional.

“Regardless of marital status or net worth, women should make important decisions and arrangements today in order to protect themselves, their husbands or partners, and other loved ones in case of incapacity or death.”

“Estate planning affects women more profoundly, so they should take charge of this process, or at least be equal participants,”states a May 2011 article in Forbes by lawyer and journalist Deborah L. Jacobs. “Among Americans 65 and older, 42 percent of women, but just 14 percent of men, are widowed. Women’s longer life expectancy, combined with their tendency to marry older mates and their lower lifetime earnings means they are far more likely to see their living standards compromised in retirement if proper estate planning isn’t done.”