Most Houston estate planning attorneys will tell you that the work they do often has the biggest effect on women. That is not to say that estate planning is not important for everyone, rather that women are more often the ones who deal with the repercussions. There are plenty of reasons for this, but one of the most obvious is the fact that women typically live longer than men. Not only are women more likely to inherit their spouse’s estate, but they are also the ones who are going to have a final say in how those assets are used when they themselves pass away.
Here are some things that this Houston estate planning attorney recommend women keep in mind:
Estate Planning Tips for Women #1: Appoint a Financial Representative
Along the lines of creating a medical power of attorney, have your estate planning lawyer in Houston draw up a statutory durabale power of attorney to avoid trouble for yourself and your loved ones down the road. Should you become unable to manage your own finances because of age, injury, illness, etc. this document clearly states who should be making those decisions for you. Appointing a financial representative while you are in good health means that you have a say in what happens rather than allowing the courts to choose someone for you.
Estate Planning Tips for Women #2: You Have an Estate, So Protect It
It is easy to forget that “estates” are not something that only applies to the rich and famous. Even if you are not particularly wealthy, you still have an estate made up of everything you own. From a home and vehicles to your grandmother’s jewelry to accounts with the bank, all of these things are considered a part of your estate. Working with an estate planning attorney means that you can determine how that estate will be distributed upon your death. Without an estate plan, it will be up to the courts to make these decisions (often in ways that do not fit your desires), and it is a costly and time-consuming process that will slow down the distribution.
Estate Planning Tips for Women #4: Trusts Can Be Your Best Friend
Again, it can seem like a “trust” is something reserved only for the super-rich, but that is not how the reality that so many Houston estate planning attorneys see day in and day out. Instead, trusts can be used to make sure you pass on the most of your estate possible to your beneficiaries. Beyond that, trusts can save you tax money now and can also allow you to make specific provisions for how the assets of the trust are to be used. For example, if you are set on your children attending college, you can earmark funds in the trust specifically for that purpose to help encourage your kids to get an education.
Estate Planning Tips for Women #5: Review Beneficiaries
Most of the accounts you have opened or that have been somehow bequeathed to you request you to name a beneficiary. In the event that you die, the money within these accounts goes to that beneficiary. It is so important to review the different accounts and make sure that the beneficiaries designated are those you want. This may be especially important in the case of a divorce, where individuals need to remove their ex’s name as beneficiary. Naming beneficiaries can be exciting, as this is an opportunity to really recognize what you are leaving to friends, family, non-profit organizations, or other individuals or organizations that are important to you.
There can be some special considerations to keep in mind when it comes to estate planning for women, so be sure to always work with a qualified estate planning attorney in Texas for the best results.