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Four estate planning considerations for women

Women & money
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Estate planning can be a powerful way to manage some of the uncertainty in life, especially when it comes to your legacy. Taking the time to think through and craft a detailed estate plan can help provide you and your loved ones with significant, even life-changing, benefits and peace of mind.  Consider the following:
1) Estate planning is especially important for women
There are many aspects to a woman’s experience that make estate planning even more crucial than you might think.
  • Women have longer lifespans. You're likely to inherit your spouse's, partner's or parent’s assets and you’ll want to make sure they’re used to provide you the desired income and meet your overall financial goals.
     
  • You may be one of the 8.6 million women in the U.S. who own a business.* An estate plan can help you set the terms for its future.
     
  • An estate plan is not just about the inheritance of assets. If you have children or other dependents, your estate plan should establish who will take care of them and be their official guardian.
     
2) Create an estate plan that feels right for you
Proper estate planning gives you the power when leaving your personal assets to loved ones. When the time comes to carry out your final wishes, that same estate plan will provide your heirs and legal counsel direction to do so. Most importantly, you are the one who decides how your assets should be distributed and managed. The good news is you don’t have to figure it out all at once.
Your estate plan is about having choices, protecting those you care about, and your own peace of mind. It can be drafted to help ensure that you or your loved ones can avoid some tough challenges such as:
  • Having to make an important decision during an emotional time
     
  • Uncertainty about who controls your estate
     
  • The possibility a beneficiary could misuse or lose proceeds
     
3) Confirm and document your intentions
Your estate plan is a collection of legal documents that helps you make binding and lasting decisions about yourself, your care and the administration and distribution of your assets. It also provides very explicit instructions for your money and property. If there’s anyone who should decide the outcome of your estate, it’s you. If you don’t have a plan in place, you may find that the state makes a decision counter to your wishes.
You may want to:
  • Designate an agent in your durable power of attorney - someone you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to make those decisions yourself.
     
  • Have a health care proxy who knows your medical care preferences, so you can ensure your wishes are followed in the event you’re alive but can’t communicate.
     
  • Give a certain amount of your estate to charity without sacrificing the financial goals you have for yourself, your family or other loved ones.
4) Utilize a team of specialists
A good time to discuss your estate planning is with your TIAA Advisor at your annual review. Your advisor can help you create or revise your financial strategy, conduct a review of your assets and provide a list of other professionals whom you may contact at your discretion to facilitate your estate plan.
A sound estate plan has many aspects to it, but you don’t have to face it alone. TIAA can help. Contact your TIAA advisor today.
 
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