Estate planning provides peace of mind that your loved ones are protected in the event you are no longer able to care for them. Women have unique concerns in estate planning. As a result of lower earning power and longer lifespans, women have more to lose if they are financially unprepared. Here are the facts on common myths about women and estate planning.
1. I’m Too Young To Need a Will
If you are over 18 – whether you are living on your own or still living with your parents – you most likely have some possessions that you care about. If you have children under 18, have a job, are married or own property such as a car or home, you have assets and legal responsibilities – and you need a will. Even if you’re young, single and just starting your career you likely have an insurance policy at work and some assets you care about. You may have a mortgage, car loan and perhaps student loans.
And if you have a child or are married, your children and/or spouse will require money for their education, housing and care. If you become incapacitated or die at a young age, you need to designate who you want to care for your minor children, and how your assets will be distributed.
2. I Don’t Need A Will Because My Husband and I Own Our Assets Together
Not all assets that are jointly owned automatically pass to the surviving spouse. Illinois’ Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship means that co-owned property and assets automatically pass to the surviving spouse. Many married couples own most of their property this way, including homes, cars, bank accounts, and brokerage accounts. If you want to make a specific bequest to someone other than your husband, you need a will to do that.
If you die, the surviving spouse may have health or other issues that complicate executing a valid will and take time and money to resolve, leaving your spouse fewer assets in the end.
3. My Estate Isn’t Valuable Enough to Need a Will
Having an estate plan also gives your family peace of mind by knowing your wishes and how you want things handled in case you die. Your will or trust tells your family and loved ones what funeral arrangements you want, how you want your debtors paid and other important decisions. Do you have student debt? Do you have a car loan? A will tells your family and loved ones how you want your assets distributed, including personal effects such as jewelry or memorabilia.
You may also become temporarily incapacitated and need to appoint a legal guardian to act on your behalf for medical and financial decisions. An estate plan can provide guidelines on how you want to be cared for if you become ill or incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself.
• Estate Planning Tips for Women
• Why Single Moms Need an Estate Plan
Women have unique concerns in estate planning – due to longer lifespans and lower earning power, women have more to lose if they are financially unprepared. Prepare for the future by contacting an experienced estate planning attorney at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois at 630-800-0112.