Estate planning is beneficial for all adults. You can create one as soon as you become an adult and update it as you grow older and your circumstances evolve. This reality applies to everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, family status, occupation, immigration status and gender.
That being said, both age and gender can play a role in this process and whether making the effort to create an estate plan may be of particularly pressing importance for an individual. For example, it can be more important for women to understand estate planning than men under certain circumstances.
Women tend to live longer
Women live longer than men. It’s true that life expectancy in the United States has been declining lately, but it is still higher for women. They’re likely to outlive men. For example, in 2020, life expectancy at birth for women was 79.9 years old. That fell in 2021 to 79.1 years old. However, a man in 2020 only had a life expectancy of 74.2 years old. That expectancy also went down in 2021, dropping to 73.2.
In other words, it’s likely that the average woman is going to live for roughly five or six years longer than the average man. In opposite-sex marriages, this means that the husband is going to pass away long before his wife, and she is going to be left with the entire estate. Women in this position have a lot of things to consider. What are the costs that go along with aging and what plans have they made for them? How are they going to make medical decisions in the future, especially if they are incapacitated? Precisely how should assets pass to the next generation and what things have to be considered for each heir?
Creating your plan
All of these questions – and many more – can be addressed in an estate plan. Asking questions is just the beginning. If you do not yet have an estate plan but you’re considering one, it’s very important to understand exactly what legal options you have available to you. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.