A good Atlanta estate planning attorney is going to help you take a lot of things into consideration when putting together your plan. Various factors influence your estate planning after all: finances, children, age…But what about your gender? Is estate planning for women different from that for men?
Actually, there are some important things to keep in mind.
A Spouse’s Will Is Not Enough
Atlanta estate planning attorneys see again and again where a married couple believes that only one of them—usually a husband—needs to have a will. This can cause a lot of problems in the long run, however.
- Your family may not know your wishes, even if you think they do.
- In times of grief, people aren’t always at their best and could resort to fighting over the estate.
- If your spouse remarries, the new wife (and her children) could legally inherit your things.
These are just some of the scenarios estate planning attorneys see playing out when one partner is relying on the other’s will.
Women Need Powers of Attorney
Various types of powers of attorney are an important part of an estate plan, and this can be especially true for women. The average woman’s lifespan is longer than a man’s, which means that she may be on her own near the end of her life. With no spouse to make medical and financial decisions should she become incapacitated, it’s even more important to make sure appropriate appointees have been legally declared.
Updates are Needed When Marriage Status Changes
When one spouse has passed away, it is always a good idea to review the surviving spouse’s estate plan. There are likely some changes that need to be made based on changes in income and other living circumstances. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Atlanta will be able to help redefine the goals you and your spouse set in order to ensure you stay on track.
It’s also very important to meet with an estate planning lawyer after a divorce. The details of the divorce can strongly impact your financial future, and the attorney will work to make sure you know and have access to what is rightfully yours. Additionally, if you already have a will, you will want to change it to avoid the possibility of your ex being entitled to your estate or assets.
A Trust May Be a Good Choice
A mother wants to provide for her child in every way possible, and while trusts are something that are often associated with rich people, they are a great tool for just about anyone with heirs. Talk with an estate planning attorney about why and how to go about creating a trust to help fund your children or grandchildren’s future should you not be around to help them.
There are plenty of other considerations that apply specifically to estate planning for women, and the best way to get all the information you need is to get together with a qualified, experienced attorney in Atlanta. To schedule an appointment for a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at one of our metro Atlanta offices, we invite you to call 770-425-6060 to get started.
If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that the champagne has been consumed and the party horns have been put away, it’s time to really begin the New Year. You may or may not be sticking to those resolutions you made on January 1st, but even if they are a vague memory at this point, I challenge you to add one more resolution to your list — review your estate plan.
Here’s a checklist to get you started:
- Look for your estate planning documents and see if they are still in the place where you left them. Check your fireproof safe, safety deposit box, or other location where you store the actual documents. In addition, make sure your electronic copies are where you last left them. You may have chosen to keep them on a CD or on your home computer, in any case, make sure they are still accessible. Additionally, make sure your heirs, executor, or trust administrator know where they are.
- Review your children’s long-term and short-term guardian nominations. Has anything happened either in your children’s lives or your guardian’s lives that may make you rethink things? Has the person (people) you’ve named as guardians moved, had a child, divorced, or remarried? If so, does this impact your decision? Have any changes happened that might make you rethink the people you named as short-term guardians?
- Did any of your children turn 18? If so, you need to make sure that they have the proper legal documents in place. They may not have many assets so they may not need a full-blown estate plan, but they will need a signed healthcare power of attorney and living trust in case something happens to them. Without these legal documents in place, you may not be able to speak for them.
- Update, review, or consider a pet trust. If you currently have a pet trust, has anything happened that would make you rethink it? Did something happen to your pet that may mean there are more medical expenses than you thought? Did you get a new pet this year that you want to be sure will be cared for if something happens to you?
- Think through 2014 and list any substantial assets you may have acquired. If you have new assets, make sure they are transferred into your trust. If they aren’t, those assets could end up in probate even though you thoughtfully created a trust to avoid this.
- Review and think about your asset distribution. Does your trust still reflect your wishes for how you would like to distribute your assets? Again, life events such as births, deaths, marriage and divorce may impact the decisions you made about this.
- Check your insurance policies. Does your life insurance still reflect an amount that would support your family if something happens to you? Has something happened in the past year that would require you raise that amount?
- Are you still happy with your decision regarding who should administer your estate? Is he or she still willing to accept this duty? Has anything happened in the last year that would make you wonder whether this person is still able to perform this function? If you are in doubt, you may consider discussing the person you chose and make changes if necessary.
- Update your family’s legacy. Each year you should update your written legacy whether it is in writing or recorded. Be sure to note family member milestones and accomplishments. This will most likely be the most valuable part of your estate plan so be sure to spend time on this.
As I tell my clients, your estate plan is a document that changes just as your life changes. While every change in your life doesn’t mean that you need to update your estate plan, it is important to think through the past year’s events and experiences to make sure that your estate plan will still take care of your family just has you planned.