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Why women should engage in estate planning even more than men

In the United States, women generally outlive men by nearly five years. Although they may live longer than their male counterparts, they earn far less income than men over the course of their lives. The combination of these two factors makes it even more critical that women engage in estate planning just as much, if not more, than men.

Women who have taken time out of the workforce for a period of time, such as to stay at home with the kids, have far less invested in their retirement funds than their spouses. If that income stops coming in, then that can greatly impact the woman's ability to live as comfortably as she once did. Estate planning can help you prepare for this.

Estate planning is a process whereby you draft documents that clearly spell out what you wish to happen with your assets after your death. It also includes the drafting of health directives that reflect your preferences if you become either mentally or physically incompetent to make decisions for yourself.

All women should have a health care proxy or directive and will. By having these types of documents in place, it ensures that you'll have more control over what happens as opposed to someone else, like a judge.

Estate planning is not just a one-time occurrence, but instead something that should be repeatedly readdressed as life events occur. For example, if a woman's husband becomes ill, then she might want to go in and tune up her estate plan to ensure she continues to have access to her assets.

Some who work in estate planning even recommend setting a reminder for yourself to review your list of beneficiaries every year on your birthday to make sure they continue to agree with your preferences.

While it may be beneficial for female clients to take a more active role in their finances early on, few do until a major life event occurs. If you are looking to proactive about shaping your future, then a St. George, Utah, estate planning attorney can help guide you through that process.

Source: Forbes, "It's different for women in estate planning," Larry Light, accessed Sep. 29, 2017

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