In our practice, women are the driving force in families to complete estate plans. If you’re a mom, it’s time to push that to-do item to the top of the list and get your estate plan done or updated to protect your family and everything you’ve worked to achieve. If you’re the spouse or adult child of a mother, now’s the time to help mom get it done.
No one wants to talk about incapacity and death. But it doesn’t have to be that bad. Really. Completing a comprehensive estate plan is the best gift you can give to yourself and your family. So many of our clients share that the process was not only, not bad but quite enjoyable!
Keep in mind that creating these documents once isn’t enough. Things change – wishes, people, assets and the laws. Review your plan every 5 years or with any big life change.
Everyone will eventually need these documents. Women’s History Month gives us a good excuse to talk about WHY!
Women are underrepresented in medical studies and research. As a result, women may not know what symptoms to look for or that some conditions affect women more than men.
Most of us have been affected by dementia. Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients today are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Most caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s are women.
Long before Alzheimer’s physically incapacitates a person, it erodes mental capacity. The memory loss and cognitive impairments prevent you from creating or updating your estate plan. Consequently, family members often end up in court – conservatorship, where the judge appoints someone to make decisions for you and probate to administer your estate.
Like Alzheimer’s, a stroke can cause long-lasting cognitive impairments as well as severe physical disabilities or death. According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the # 4 cause of death in women and kills more women than men.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women across the country. Nonetheless, according to the Wexner Medical Center, heart attacks in women are “understudied, underdiagnosed and undertreated.” Women’s symptoms can sometimes be misattributed to a stomach flu. A well-known cardiologist suggests, “if you feel anything weird between your nose and your navel that doesn’t go away with rest and returns with physical exertion, CALL 911!”
The American Heart Association states that some warning signs of a woman’s heart attack are:
Stomach, jaw or arm pain;
Shortness of breath;
Pressure in the upper back or lower chest; or
Women spend much of our lives caring for others – children, spouses, aging parents and grandparents. We often do not take care of ourselves. Having a comprehensive estate plan accomplishes both: it clarifies your wishes so your loved ones are less burdened when making difficult decisions for you, it prevents the waste of financial and emotional resources in court and it hopefully maintains family harmony.
Don’t procrastinate. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.