An unavoidable statistical reality is that area women may be much more affected by New York elder law and estate planning issues than men. Demographics and life patterns are at the heart of the explanation. Women have a longer life expectancy and more often marry older companions. This explains how of all Americans over 65 years of age, 42% of women but only 14% of men are widowed. On top of that, women still have lower average lifetime earnings.
Those characteristics have profound effects on the lives of many women in our area. As explained Thursday in a newly published Forbes article, women are much more likely than men to face compromised living situations following retirement. However, those who have taken time to conduct proper New York estate planning have a better chance at avoiding major decreases in living standards in their later years.
Many ways exist for a surviving spouse to maximize their financial protection, no matter what their future holds. In fact, the tools to plan for the future are frequently in flux.
For example, federal estate tax changes enacted late last year offer new opportunities and risks for spouses to ensure their assets are protected and preserved in as efficient a way possible. For one, starting this year there are new rules for the amount of unused estate tax exclusion a surviving spouse can add to their own. This “portability” option may double the amount of money that a spouse can pass on to heirs untaxed. However, the portability does not automatically occur. Without proper planning, some spouses may fail to take advantage.
It remains difficult for many families to have the hard conversations about protecting one another in the future, planning for possible healthcare challenges, and making choices about how they’d like their assets to be shared by others down the road. However, for women in particular, the stakes are too high to avoid visiting a New York elder law attorney and learning about what options are available.
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