Create an estate plan is something that everyone should do early on in life. Unfortunately, it is also something that people tend to put off for a variety of reasons. If you have made the wise decision to get started on your estate plan, the best way to do so is to consult with an experienced California estate planning attorney; however, it never hurts to learn some estate planning basics ahead of time. If you are a woman, your estate planning needs may be different than those of your male counterpart. With that in mind, the following “ Woman’s Estate Planning Guide ” will explain some estate planning concepts and focus on some common issues women face when creating an estate plan.
Why Is Estate Planning So Important?
Your life is likely hectic enough without adding in yet another item on your “to do” list. So why is it so important to get your estate plan in place? There are several reasons why you should take the time to sit down and create a comprehensive estate plan, including:
- You don’t want to die intestate. Without at least a Last Will and Testament in place, the State of California would decide what happens to all your estate assets in the event of your death. Even if you are young and have accumulated few assets at this point, you probably don’t want the state to dictate what happens to the assets you do have in the unlikely event that tragedy strikes.
- An estate plan does more than just distribute your assets. Once you get started with your estate plan you will realize that a well thought out estate plan can do much more for you while are alive than you were aware. Specifically, it can help to grow and protect the assets you have, providing you with financial security as you age.
Should You Create a Joint Plan or Separate Plans?
One of the most common questions women have when they decide to get started with estate planning is whether or not to create a “joint” plan with a spouse or a separate plan on their own. Deciding how to structure your estate plan in relation to a spouse is a very individual decision; however, you do not, as a general rule, want your estate plan to be completely incorporated into your spouse’s plan. You do want the two plans to work in harmony with each other; however, because the future is never certain, you don’t want your estate planning needs and goals to be dependent on a spouse’s estate planning choices and decisions.
Components Women Should Consider
Your Last Will and Testament will likely serve as the foundation of your estate plan; however, as you move through the various stages of your life you will undoubtedly recognize the need for additional components in your plan, such as:
- Incapacity planning – incapacity planning is a component that everyone should have in their estate plan because the reality is that incapacity can strike anyone at any time. If you were to become incapacitated tomorrow as the result of a tragic accident or debilitating illness, what would happen to your assets? Who would control and protect them? Who would make medical decisions for you? Most importantly, who would care for your children and how would they manage financially during your incapacity? Without an incapacity plan in place the answers to these questions remain unknown.
- Business planning – if you are one of the millions of women who has chosen to start a business, you need to have concrete plans in place that protect your interest in the business in the event that something happens to you.
- Retirement planning – it is never too early to start thinking about retirement. Statistically speaking, you are likely to outlive your spouse, making it even more important for you to have a solid retirement plan in place that will allow you to live comfortably during your “Golden years.” You should also consider adding Medicaid planning strategies to your retirement plan to ensure that you will be able to afford long-term care if you need it down the road without putting all your hard-earned assets at risk.
For more information, please join us for one of our upcoming free seminars. If you have additional questions or concerns about conservatorship in the State of California, contact the Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 0r Click Here reserve for a Free Estate Planning Workshop.