Monthly Archives: May 2014

Estate planning tips for women

Planning for the future can be difficult, especially when you’re busy being a wife or mother. Women face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning so it is important for them to be aware of the different types of issues they should address in their individual estate plans.

Women are usually known for taking care of everyone else and their estate plans usually reflect this too. However, an estate plan should also provide protection for women and help everyone else know their wishes.

What should women think about when creating their estate plan? For women who have children, it is important to have a will that names a guardian for any minor children. A guardian will be the person who will care for your kids in the event you are incapacitated or pass away. Women with kids should also consider having an advance health care directive and power of attorney to make sure their wishes are known, especially regarding life-sustaining medical treatments.

Women who don’t have children should also have a will, power of attorney and advance health care directive. These documents will help your loved ones and those taking care of you as you get older know your wishes. 

In addition to having these documents, women should make sure they review and update their beneficiary designations on their life insurance, retirement plans and other financial accounts. Women should review their beneficiary designations after they get married, divorced, have children or after their spouse passes away. It is important to review and update these documents because failing to do so could result in money going to someone who is no longer alive or someone you no longer have a relationship with.

Women in California should be aware of the different types of issues to address in their estate plans and take action now before it’s too late. 

Source: Market Watch, “How women can make estate planning easier,” Andrea Coombes, May 8, 2014

Why everyone needs an estate plan in California

Estate plans are just for older, wealthier people, right? Wrong. Everyone should have an estate plan, including young adults who don’t have a significant amount of wealth. An estate plan will make sure your wishes are known and pass on your possessions to the people you care about. 

Some readers may not know what an estate is or what it includes. An estate includes any real estate property you own as well as personal property like a vehicle or furniture. Your estate also includes financial accounts like bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments and even your Social Security benefits. Since your possessions and finances are part of your estate, it couldn’t be more important to create an estate plan to address what you want done with your estate.

An estate plan can include several different documents. At the very least, you should have a will. A will can document what will happen to your possessions and financial accounts. A will can also document who will take care of your children in the event you and their other parent pass away. 

In addition to having a will, you may want to consider having a few additional documents in your estate plan. You may want to have a durable power of attorney, which allows you to appoint someone else to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

Another document to consider is an advance health care directive. This allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to. It also lets your loved ones and doctors know what life-sustaining medical treatments you want and don’t want. 

Creating an estate plan and thinking about your own death can be very depressing and difficult to do. However, individuals in California need to think about the benefits of having a will and other estate planning documents before it’s too late and create an estate plan now.

Source: Dallas News, “Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of wealth,” Pamela Yip, May 2, 2014