10 Estate Planning Rules for Women

We all know that, on average, women outlive men.  What we generally neglect to consider is that they also generally earn less than men and have to manage expenses longer due to their longer life expectancies.  Here are the top 10 estate planning rules for women:

  1. Make a will.  A will provides instruction on how you want your assets handled after you die; without one, a probate court will decide for you.
  2. Make an estate plan.  There can be tax consequences to your estate that could be avoided if you had planned in advance; seeking the advice of a qualified Nebraska estate planning lawyer can save your heirs both time and money.
  3. Choose executor wisely.  Experts agree you should choose someone with financial savvy as your executor instead of a default choice of a relative or friend. 
  4. Think about a trust.  Trusts can help those with even small estates protect assets and ensure those assets pass to those you intended to receive them.
  5. Give while you are alive.  If you plan to leave some assets to individuals other than your spouse, passing those along while you are still alive can help minimize gift and estate taxes.
  6. Make timely changes to your estate plan.  If your spouse dies before you do, be sure you reevaluate your estate plan and change any beneficiary designations.
  7. Name beneficiaries for your retirement accounts.  Naming beneficiaries on each of your retirement accounts instead of in a will means those assets will pass outside of probate directly to beneficiaries without delay.
  8. Have a joint account with your spouse.  Having a joint account with your spouse will enable you to have access to funds in case your spouse becomes incapacitated or dies suddenly.
  9. Create a pre-nup before remarrying.  If you have children from a prior marriage that you want to inherit, you should create a pre-nuptial agreement before you remarry that outlines your new spouse’s access to your assets.
  10. Take financial responsibility.  If you are not currently responsible for the day-to-day finances in your family, be sure you know all the details in case your spouse becomes incapacitated or dies suddenly.

Your legal team at Koenig|Dunne is here to provide you with guidance and advice regarding all of the issues that you will face throughout the estate planning process.