2007-10-19 / Columnists

Spotlight On Elderlaw

Life Planning for Women
Commentary By Nancy J. Brady, RN, Esq. And Linda Faith Marshak, Esq.

While women have made significant advances socially and economically over the last thirty years, planning for major life events and retirement among women has not kept pace with those advances.

This lack of planning, combined with the need for women to interrupt their careers to meet their families' needs, results in women being inadequately equipped with both the legal and financial planning to secure their futures (no matter what stage of life or role comes their way).

Many women continue to rely on the men in their lives to support them, and make the financial decisions. No one, man or woman, should rely on anybody to support them throughout their lifetime. It is so important to become educated and aware of what your lifetime and retirement needs will be, especially for women, who (generally) have less in savings and retirement money than their male counterparts, and (also generally) live longer lives, and therefore need more resources than their male counterparts.

Planning for the various stages and roles in a woman's life will, naturally, be different for every woman depending upon her particular circumstances, however there is some basic planning that every woman should have in place at any age.

Twenties and Thirties: You should have basic estate planning documents in place- Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and a Last Will and Testament. If you are lucky enough to have significant assets, more sophisticated wills should be executed for tax savings purposes. If you have young children, even if you don't have a large estate, you should have provisions in your will for your choice of guardians and trustees for your children. College planning for children, and retirement planning for yourself must begin as early as possible to make sure you are on the right track.

Forties and Fifties: Review your estate planning documents at least every five years, and even more frequently if circumstances in your life change. Make sure your elderly parents have at least the basic documents in place, so that you may act on their behalf if necessary to help them manage their affairs, or plan for long term care. Consider purchasing your own long term care insurance. If your estate has grown significantly, make sure your legal documents are structured to maximize estate tax savings for your family. Continually review your progress towards securing your financial fitness for retirement.

Sixties and Seventies: If you have not already done so, make sure to have basic estate planning documents in place. Update and make changes to any documents you may have already executed, particularly if circumstances have changed, and they no longer reflect your wishes. Establish and implement a plan for long term care in the event of illness. Make an informed decision about when to begin to collect social security benefits.

We will be discussing these, as well as other topics, at our upcoming seminar on October 24. Please see our display ad in this publication, or call our office for more information if you are interested in attending. We can be reached at 718-945-7777. We look forward to speaking to you!

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