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Do women have unique estate planning needs?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2015 | Estate Planning |

When it comes to planning one’s estate, each and every New Jersey resident has a specific set of needs. While there are many estate planning solutions that work for virtually everyone, there are other tools available that can customize the outcome based on an individual’s goals and challenges. For example, many women have very specific needs and require a different estate planning approach than their husbands.

This differentiated approach is partly due to the fact that women have a longer life expectancy than men, which means that a large percentage of women will outlive their husbands. In addition, divorce and remarriage is far more common now than in decades past, which leaves many women with a blend of children and stepchildren from different unions. When determining how to pass on assets within a blended family, estate planning tools provide a wide range of choices.

For example, many women want to pass on wealth to their children and stepchildren, but they also want to safeguard those assets from losses that result from the challenges faced by adult children. By setting up one or more trusts, assets can be shielded from loss during divorce or financial turmoil. This means that more wealth can pass to those for whom it is intended without becoming subjected to property division or seizure as a result of legal action.

Women who have a blended family might also want to consider creating a dispositive list that can be stored with other estate planning documents. This is a list of personal possessions with the names of the intended heirs of those items. A dispositive list is a great way to help loved ones handle the disposition of personal belongings after an individual’s death. It takes out the stressful process of trying to decide who should get what items, which can also serve to reduce tensions between surviving family members.

When structuring an estate planning solution, New Jersey women should take a close look at their current circumstances, and they should also consider what their future needs may be in years to come. For those who become widowed, the existing estate planning package should be reviewed in a timely manner. This helps to ensure that one’s goals remain supported by the proper legal documentation.

Source: bizjournals.com, “10 key strategies for women doing estate planning“, Lisa Schneider, June 12, 2015