Turning fifty is a milestone event, especially for women the world over. It’s often a transition point when nests empty, careers change, and priorities shift. It inspires a decade of renewal, a desire to reflect on your life and consider the road ahead. It is the golden moment for estate planning.
Although planning for the end of life appears to be morbid, estate planning can protect you and your assets not only after your passing away but also during your middle and later years.
Why is estate planning important for Women Over 50?
Estate planning is the term referred to as the process people go through to prepare for the legal, financial, and personal realities of their death. It is the efficient, effective, and controlled distribution of assets to intended beneficiaries. Here are some of the key reasons why you should consider it:
Plan for your needs
Perhaps beyond your expectations, an estate plan for women over 50 can protect you and your assets once you can’t make your own decisions or become incapacitated. You must consider the possible future event that you’re no longer capable of providing for yourself, as well as putting some thought into your retirement and required cash flow.
Additionally, you can designate a healthcare proxy or power of attorney to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if necessary.
Dispose of wealth
An estate plan for older women will help to save your family members’ frustration when deciding how to divide your assets after you die. It will clearly define and ensure that your assets are dispersed in the manner you wish, avoiding any ambiguity in a time that should be for grievance.
Minimize transferring taxes
When transferring your money, there are three types of taxes you should be aware of – gift tax, estate tax, and transfer tax. Since the IRS places limitations around the transfer taxes, the estate planning process can support you in developing an approach to a wealth transfer estate strategy in the most tax-efficient way possible.
Protect family wealth
Estate planning helps preserve your family’s wealth by putting your name into legally-protected investment vehicles, such as limited liability entities or trusts. Insurance is also important, which can provide funds and protect you against a variety of legal obstacles.
What are the planning options available?
If you have decided to set up your own estate plan, then you need to know exactly what options you have and what you should think about including as part of your plan. These following items are the most important clauses in estate planning for women over fifty years old:
This is the legal document to decide the disposition of your financial and physical properties after your passing away. This is the most basic estate planning document that everybody should have put in place.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare
This legal document is to authorize one person to make medical decisions on your behalf upon your incapacity. This document gives them the power to control and decide almost anything concerning your financial affairs when you’re not able to.
There are power of attorney documents that also outline how your money should be spent while you are still alive, in the case that you become incapable of managing your own finances.
A Personal Directive – A living will
Unlike a financial power of attorney, a personal directive is a written document that states your wishes for end-of-life care, which gives the power to the agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you’re not supposed to. These decisions are related to health care, housing, and treatment.
Trusts and vehicles for charitable gifting can be more advanced estate planning documents.
How often do I need to update my estate plan?
When was the last time an estate plan crossed your mind? Most of us are too busy with the hustle and bustle of our lives, with more immediate priorities around us other than concerning ourselves with estate planning.
However, you should take some time out at least once every couple of years to meet your estate planning lawyer and make a review of the estate documents to ensure they are always up to date.
At the time you do estate planning, there might be particular beneficiaries. Yet this may change over time, depending on your relationship and your future wishes. You still experience life changes when you are over 50, so updating your outdated beneficiary designations is a must.
Estate planning for women in their 50s is a complex and emotional process, however, it is certainly not something that you want to delay and push to the back of your mind. It’s a necessary process that we all must go through if we want to leave our loved ones with the security of knowing that your last wishes are carried out appropriately and that all of your assets are divided how you intended them to be.
Your estate planning attorney can help you make any significant decisions and guide you and your family to reap the rewards of smart planning now and for the years ahead.
Do you have your estate plan in place or have you been putting it off? Please leave a comment below.