Estate planning is important for everyone, but it is particularly important for women. Although the social landscape has changed significantly over the last few decades, estate planning is still a critical tool for women—most notably women who worked as homemakers.
No matter your marital, employment or parental status, women should make sure they have a comprehensive estate plan.
Today, women comprise 56.2 percent of the workforce—a far cry from decades past, when women were expected to marry and stay home. Now they represent the majority of the labor force. Unfortunately, the gender-based wage gap still exists: women make 17 percent less than their male counterpart in the same role. This financial discrepancy can make a big difference when planning for long-term care and healthcare in your senior years. It’s important to work with financial advisors and estate planning attorneys to address any gaps in assets, benefits and more.
Despite women being the majority in today’s workforce, they’re also more likely to be caretakers for family members. Approximately 66 percent of women are caregivers for elderly relatives, and spend about 50 percent more time than men doing so. Furthermore, just under 80 percent of mothers are the primary caregivers for children, while their fathers are in the workforce. Caregiving is a valuable service, but it doesn’t pay wages or generate retirement benefits the way traditional employment does. Furthermore, women who are employed outside the home are disproportionately part of service professions, which were the first to take a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This place women at a significant disadvantage, especially if they find themselves suddenly divorced, incapacitated or widowed. Not only is there a wage and benefit gap, women who stay home to be caregivers may not have marketable experience to rejoin the workforce and earn a sufficient wage. Their spouse also may not be able or willing to provide care during illness or incapacitation.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you work with the assets you have, to ensure you’re protected and cared for in your later years. From ensuring you have the means to support your minor children if your spouse suddenly dies, to planning for Medicaid as a single childfree woman, there are options available.
James Bart Leonardi, LLC can help you create a comprehensive estate plan. Call today to schedule a consultation.