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Women may have different estate planning needs

According to a recent article in The Business Journals, women may have more specific needs when it comes to planning an estate than their male counterparts. The biggest reason involves the fact that women typically outlive men; therefore, they need to plan accordingly with regard to their higher life expectancy.

Having a higher life expectancy means that women need to ensure they are financially stable well into their later years. Furthermore, women have a greater chance of remarrying once widowed; thus, they will have additional relatives, such as stepchildren and step-grandchildren, for whom they will need to consider when passing on their assets and property.

Although many legal instruments are available for estate planning purposes, many seek to place at least some of their property and assets into trusts. Trusts can be structured to ensure that property is bequeathed only at predetermined times or under specific circumstances. For instance, if a woman wants to leave money to fund a grandchild's college tuition ? and only for that purpose ? a trust will ensure the would-be student receives the funds only if they actually attend college. Another benefit of trusts is that the property allocated to them becomes the property of the trust itself. This means that the property cannot be seized during a divorce or financial judgment.

Women who have questions or concerns regarding their estate can speak with an attorney who is experienced in estate law and planning. With all of the different estate-planning vehicles available, the decision of determining the best path to follow can be complex and confusing. Consulting with a professional in this area can help ensure that a woman's assets are protected and passed on to her heirs as she intended.

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