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Idaho Estate Planning Estate Planning and Gender

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

We believe that everyone can benefit from having a complete and thorough estate plan created for themselves. This is true regardless of a person’s age, race, religion, and gender. However, we recognize that these distinctions can have an important part in the estate planning that a person wants to complete. For instance, gender, plays an important role in the decisions that are made when creating an estate plan. This is not to say that the different genders need a different type of estate planning. Rather, it simply means that each gender has its own unique characteristics and circumstances that should be considered when it comes to estate planning.

At the Racine law office, our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys have experience and can help you with any questions you have about your own estate-planning. Our knowledgeable and skilled Idaho estate planning team includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our attorneys have received the highest ratings possible on all of the major legal ranking services. We also received High marks from our clients and other legal professionals we work with.

The purpose of this article is to discuss how gender can have an impact on the estate planning you create for yourself. In explaining this we will provide a brief explanation of the fact that there really is no legal difference between men and women when it comes to estate planning but there could be some practical differences both in how the estate should be set up and how it should be distributed.

Legal Difference: None

The first place we start is discussing whether in fact there is any legal difference in the estate planning between a man and a woman. The short answer is no. Both men and women need the same types of estate planning documents. These basic documents would include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney for finances and property, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care.

It’s possible that both men and women may also need trusts or other types of estate planning documents depending on the size and complexity of their estate. All of these documents form the core of estate planning for just about everyone.

In creating these documents and in executing them to make sure that they are valid, the legal requirements are the same for both men and women. With a last will and testament, or with a trust, Witnesses and notaries are required. When it comes to the powers of attorney and the living will, typically just a notary would be necessary. With these are completed, these documents become valid regardless of whether it is a man or a woman who has completed them.

Practical Difference: Women Live Longer Than Men

Having established that there really is no legal difference between men and women when it comes to completing estate planning the next thing to discuss is whether there are any practical differences. In fact, the answer is yes. It is a well-documented statistical fact that women typically live longer than men. In fact, 46% of all people who are 65 years of age or older are widows. Because of this well understood fact, this does create some practical differences between men and women when it comes to estate planning. An example will help illustrate what I mean.

Both men and women will have a last will and testament as part of their estate planning. For both men and women who are married, they would typically list their spouse both as their first choice as personal representative, and also as their first beneficiary to receive all the property, buddy, and assets that are in their estate. For a woman, they need to consider the fact that it is likely they will outlive their husband. As a result, women need to be very concerned with who they named as the second person in line to be their personal representative and the beneficiary of their estate.

Additionally, usually a married couple will name themselves to serve as the trustees of a trust that benefits the couple. A woman needs to understand that it’s likely she will outlive her husband, and therefore become the sole trustee of the trust. Furthermore, women need to understand that it is likely they will need to take care of their own finances, and other estate actions, that their husbands may be taken care of while their husband is alive. In other words, it is important for women to make sure they understand every aspect of the estate’s finances, including the property it contains, the bills that are being paid, the accounts that are involved, and so forth.

Distributing Estate Assets

Distributing an estate after a person passes away is another area where men and women May differ. As was set forth above, usually a married couple will name their spouse as the first recipient or beneficiary of their estate. Just simply means that when they die, everything they own will be transferred to their spouse. However, because women outlive men, they do need to be careful and who they named as the contingent, or second beneficiary after their spouse. Additionally, because women outlive men, we advise are women clients to review their estate planning if their spouse passes away. By doing this, our clients have the opportunity to see if their estate planning still accomplishes what they want now that their spouse has passed away.

We have helped numerous clients, both men and women, complete or update their own personal estate planning to meet their own particular needs. If you have questions or concerns about your own estate planning, or you want to get your estate planning done, we are confident that we can help you too.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation. You can also email us directly at or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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