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Idaho Estate Planning Estate Planning for Women

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

To be clear right at the beginning, the purpose of this article is not to set off any fireworks to create a debate about gender. Rather, the purpose of this article is to describe the unique and specific needs that women may have when it comes to estate planning. The fact is there are differences between genders and it’s these differences which create unique circumstances that need to be met when it comes to estate planning regardless of whether you are a man or a woman.

The best place to start is to state that each individual, regardless of whether they are a man or a woman, should have at least a basic estate plan. This would include the basic estate planning documents which are a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. To these basic documents individuals may add other documents as well such as a minor’s trust, a special needs trust, or a trust to help the person’s family avoid probate or to do some Medicaid planning.

The premier estate planning lawyers at the Racine law office have provided each client with customized Idaho estate planning services for more than 70 years. We have the skill, knowledge, and expertise necessary to assist each client, regardless of their gender, meet their specific estate planning needs based on their own unique circumstances.

In providing these services, we have come to learn that there are some unique things for women to consider when it comes to completing their own estate plan. This article will discuss some of those unique needs based on the circumstances women may find themselves in during their lifetime.

Single Women

Often, we find that single women believe that they have no need for estate planning. Their reasoning is that they are not married, they may not have any children, and they may also be fairly young in life. Regardless of their age, or family or financial circumstances, single women do need at least a basic estate plan consisting of the documents listed above. By completing a basic estate plan, especially one which consists of the powers of attorney and the living will described above, a woman has the assurance that she has a plan that will protect her while she is alive and will distribute her money and assets after she has passed away.

Most importantly, each woman who completes the basic estate plan will know that the people they have chosen will be those who will be involved in helping them at every stage of their life where they may need help.

Married Women

The circumstances for a woman who is married are also unique. This is based on the fact that almost all studies and statistics show that it is likely that a wife will outlive her husband. In fact, most recent studies have shown that it is likely that a wife will outlive her husband by somewhere between 4 to 10 years. This could have a major impact on the estate planning decisions that are made by married women. The reason for this is that most married individuals will name their spouse first to do everything for them.

For example, most spouses name each other as their personal representative in their last will and testament. Additionally, most spouses name each other as their agent through their durable power of attorney and their power of attorney for health care. A married woman should consider the fact that their spouse is likely to pass away before they will. This will have a direct impact on the individuals who are named after their spouse as successors for the appointments their estate planning documents list.

Additionally, a married woman should be thinking about the fact that it may be necessary for life insurance to be included as part of the estate planning. This is especially true if the husband has been the primary breadwinner of the family. Having assisted numerous widows who relied on their husbands for income it is a very difficult situation to deal not only with the death of a husband, but also to have to deal with the financial responsibilities that now exist after the husband passes away.

Women in Second Marriage

If you are a woman who is in a second marriage, you will also have some unique circumstances that should be planned for. In particular, if you have children from a previous marriage, and/or your new spouse has children from a previous marriage, it is likely that your estate-planning will consider leaving a portion of your estate to your children. Because Idaho is a community property state the issue of a second marriage and distributing your property after your death becomes even more complex.

We have assisted numerous women who have been involved in a second marriage complete a property settlement agreement, which specifically identifies the property that belongs solely to the husband and solely to the wife. The reason this is important is because if one of these individuals passes away, their last will and testament will have complete control over the property that that individual owns as their sole and separate property. All community property is handled differently even if the last will and testament appears to give that property away from the deceased spouse to someone other than the surviving spouse.

Utilizing a trust, may also be a good solution as part of your estate planning either before or after a second marriage occurs. Again, the main purpose of using a trust would be to protect certain items of property that a woman who is entering into a second marriage may want to have be distributed to her own children after she passes away.

While this article is not exhaustive, it does raise several issues that a woman should consider when it comes to her own personal estate planning. We have assisted numerous women in completing their estate plans and 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 free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com 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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