Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / In spite of strides, women still treated as ‘unequal’ in estate planning

In spite of strides, women still treated as ‘unequal’ in estate planning

Women have come a long way in many ways in achieving equality with the male members of society, but there is one area where they still lag far behind.

A recent article in Forbes magazine, with the nifty title “Nice Girls Talk About Estate Planning” points out that women are the chief executive officers of 14 Fortune 500 companies, and yet …

Woman 2 Woman
(Photo credit: Vox Efx)

“Still, for all we have achieved, with our careers, managing our finances, sharing child rearing and other household responsibilities, we’re not as savvy about estate planning as we ought to be,” author Deborah L. Jacobs writes. “In fact, a recent survey by EZLaw suggests that women care more about losing weight than about protecting their financial assets. Does this mean women have more willpower when it comes to their waistlines, than when it comes to estate planning?

“If so, it’s a shame, because estate planning affects women profoundly. Among Americans 65 and older, 42 percent of women, but just 14 percent of men are widowed. Women’s longer life expectancy, combined with their tendency to marry older mates and their lower lifetime earnings means they are far more likely to see their living standards compromised in retirement if proper estate planning isn’t done. And since it is women who most are often widowed, they usually have the last word about which of a couple’s assets ultimately go to family, charity or the taxman.”

Nice girls who do want to talk about estate planning have to struggle against what Jacobs refers to as the “lingering tradition of paternalistic tools and techniques” in the field, basically an approach that treats women as if they were, well, flighty when it comes to financial matters.

“Women who don’t speak up about estate planning might wind up capitulating to strategies that put them at financial disadvantage,” the article states. “Perhaps worst of all is how a lack of planning can affect families of young children. Without a will, if your children are minors and you were a single or surviving parent, a court will appoint a guardian for them.”

While it’s always advisable for someone considering estate planning to obtain the services of a professional, Jacobs advises that it’s especially important for women, even before turning to a financial advisor or attorney, to have “the talk” with members of their family, including spouses, children and even parents.

“Sometimes it is best to have a series of talks, rather than covering everything at once,” she advises.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn