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People sometimes plan to have children and even plan for their retirement, but they frequently shy away from anticipating what would happen if they passed away. Creating an estate plan is essential for preparing for the future in the event of one’s death in Maryland. This is true for both men and women, although women have a unique set of challenges.

Women are more likely to live for longer periods than men are. In fact, more than a third of women above 65 years old are widows, while only 12 percent of men fall into this category. Women who are single and have no children would benefit from determining who their caretakers will be if they become incapacitated; this information can be included in their estate plans.

Meanwhile, married women would benefit from looking at what would happen to them if their spouses died, particularly if they are financially dependent on these spouses. This is a key part of estate planning that is often overlooked. For instance, a man might opt to receive the maximum pension benefit during his lifetime, meaning that the benefits would stop when he died. The surviving wife would end up losing income in this case. However, proper planning could help the couple to better prepare for this scenario.

In addition, the chief estate planning concerns for women with children is naming one guardian for these kids as well as making sure that their own income is replaced by life insurance when they pass away. For widows, an important estate planning step is to make sure that their plans are amended to reflect the deaths of their husbands. Developing an estate plan is essential for helping individuals in Maryland to make sure that their surviving family members are taken care of if they pass unexpectedly.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "How women can make estate planning easier", Andrea Coombes, May 8, 2014

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