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Getting Remarried? What Women Need to Know About Financial Risks and Estate Planning

left - blue notebook + words "Trust & Estate Planning" right - couple sitting with a woman looking at computer for blog about women and estate planning.

Women historically have not been associated with estate planning, but that is changing. Women planning for retirement and into their senior years have more to consider besides divorce, remarriage, and possible widowhood. They must also consider longer life spans coupled with lower salaries. Economic uncertainty and tax law changes also strongly support women applying financial and estate planning earlier in life. Based on Kiplinger’s article, What Every Woman Needs to Know Before Retiring,” we’ll break down the why and the how of women’s estate planning. 

One woman’s story is a warning to everyone. Four months into Caroline’s second marriage, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent her a notice about back taxes her new husband owed—$1,600 would be taken from her tax refund to make up the difference. The IRS froze the couple’s joint bank account a few months later because he was not paying withholding taxes. 

Why Women Need Estate Planning to Preserve and Build Financial Security

Estate planning for financial security is wise for women and men at any age. The experienced Minneapolis estate planning attorneys at Stone Arch Law Office provide clients strategies that help preserve funds, build wealth, and guard against financial risks like Caroline experienced in her remarriage. 

According to the Pew Research Center’s article, “Gender pay gap in U.S. hasn’t changed much in two decades,” women tend to live more years in retirement and earn roughly 84 cents for every dollar men earn. Women represent 55% of all Social Security beneficiaries aged 60 and older, and their percentages rise as the population ages. The highest rate of divorces now involves couples between ages 55 and 64. Read more about issues women should consider for their financial wellbeing in our article, Attorney Philip J. Ruce Talks About Estate Planning for Women on WCCO Radio.

How Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts Help Women in Minneapolis Plan Retirement and Beyond

Figure out how much wealth you need for a comfortable retirement and senior living. Our estate planning lawyers will help you choose the best tools to meet your financial goals while protecting your money. Combine estate planning tools that protect you from a spouse’s debt or other creditors, offer tax advantages, and authorize a trusted person to act in your best interests if you are incapacitated.

Revocable or living trusts are flexible tools in estate planning that transfer ownership from the creator to a trustee who manages the assets and distributes them to named beneficiaries. Revocable trusts are flexible allowing the creator to access, change, or cancel the trust while alive. How the trust is structured helps protect trust assets and property from creditors. Revocable trusts avoid probate and simplify the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Irrevocable trusts are better asset protection tools, but as the name implies, they don’t offer flexibility to access, change, or cancel. An irrevocable trust is used primarily for its status as a separate entity, removing the trust assets from the creator’s estate. This type of trust can be used in Medicaid planning. Work with a trust and estate planning attorney to discuss trust options.

Want to know more about trusts? Watch Stone Arch Law Office’s Revocable Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts YouTube video.

Trust Strategies in Estate Planning for Women Takeaways:

  • Obtain a holistic view of your finances: Familiarize yourself with your income, owned assets, and liabilities—all property, all accounts, all debts—and be involved in all decisions.
  • Consider life span, salary, and asset protection: Create an estate plan that protects and builds wealth for financial security. 
  • Work with a trust and estate planning attorney: Revocable and irrevocable trusts, if appropriately structured with legal guidance, can protect your assets. 

Conclusion

Before remarrying and joining finances with a new spouse, women need a holistic view of their financial situation. If a woman finds herself divorced or widowed without an estate plan, she may walk a long, bumpy road to financial security. Divorce, remarriage, and blended families are today’s norm. Few Minneapolis residents consider the financial risks when couples create joint bank accounts and commingle assets and unwittingly take on each other’s debt. Schedule a call with Minneapolis Stone Arch Law Office to ask about estate planning strategies that will protect you against financial risks. 

References:

  • Kiplinger (Feb. 24, 2024) “What Every Woman Needs to Know Before Retiring” Read the article. 
  • Pew Research Center ( March 1, 2023) “Gender pay gap in U.S. hasn’t changed much in two decadesRead the article.

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Grandparents feeling secure about their life insurance and Minnesota estate plan choices while bike riding with grandkids

Life Insurance and Your Minnesota Estate Plan

Life insurance plays a vital role in comprehensive estate planning. By carefully selecting the right type of policy, designating appropriate beneficiaries and considering the use of trusts, you can ensure that your estate plan effectively addresses your financial goals and provides for your loved ones after your passing. The key is not procrastinating on setting an end goal for your family on which to base your decisions related to life insurance and your Minnesota estate plan.

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