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Estate Planning for Women

Creating an estate plan is an important task for everyone no matter what size the estate.  Estate planning is particularly important for women because on average, women live longer than men and therefore must manage their living expenses for a longer time.  Additionally, women tend to earn less money than men and can more easily find themselves at risk of being at a financial disadvantage when their spouses pass away. 

It is never too late to get organized and plan how you would like to pass on your wealth to your loved ones.  Here are 7 things that women need to know about estate planning:

1.     Make Sure You Have A Will

Everyone needs a will.  Your will formalizes your wishes for how and to whom your assets are distributed upon your death.  If you don’t have a will, you die intestate and the court will decide how your assets will be distributed.

2.     Minimize Taxes to Maximize Assets

Be aware that there may be tax implications of transferring your assets upon your death.  Transfers to a living spouse are exempt but willing your assets to other beneficiaries including your adult children may cause the estate to pay taxes.  If you plan ahead, you can minimize these taxes and ensure that your beneficiaries can receive the maximum amount possible.

3.     Choose Your Executor Carefully

Your executor is tasked with managing your estate until all taxes are paid and filed and your assets distributed.  If you decide to select a close friend or relative as your executor, make sure to choose someone who is financially savvy.

4.     Evaluate Your Plan Regularly

If your spouse dies before you or another major life event occurs, it is essential that you revisit your estate plan so that the appropriate changes can be made.  As your life circumstances change, so should the details of your estate plan.

5.     Name Your Beneficiaries

If you have IRAs or other retirement accounts, you are allowed to name your beneficiaries.  If you name the recipients in your will only, there is  a chance that the transfer will be held up until your entire estate is settled so be sure to direct your account managers to specify beneficiaries.

6.     Know How to Manage Your Finances

If your spouse has always handled the family finances, it is important that you learn how to manage the financial accounts yourself.  Get active in bill paying and other fiscal duties so that if and when the time comes and your spouse passes away suddenly, you are prepared.

7.     Don’t Delay

It might be easy to think of excuses as to why you don’t need an estate plan.  But the time to get started is now.  Above all, keep in mind that the best way to preserve your wealth and pass it along to your loved ones is by creating a comprehensive estate plan long before you pass away.


To discuss your specific needs and to find out how an estate planning lawyer in Pittsburgh can help you, please call us at Fingeret Law (412.281.8222) or contact us online.



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