Women supporting women during women's history month 2023.

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How Estate Planning Can Empower Women to Build a Lasting Legacy

Estate planning can be a powerful tool for women who want to secure their legacy. Keep reading to learn why estate planning is so important for women in 2023.

As we celebrate International Women's History Month this March, we want to give a big shout-out to the incredible women who have made a lasting impact on our world. From trailblazers who broke down barriers to everyday heroes who inspire us with their courage and resilience, women have been instrumental in shaping our communities.

The theme for this year’s women’s history month is “celebrating the women who tell our stories,” which we think fits in pretty well with our mission here at Trust & Will– making sure everyone can leave a legacy. Because when we talk about legacies, it's impossible not to think of women. For generations, women have been the keepers of our stories and memories, preserving family histories through old photographs, letters, and cherished heirlooms. But despite their crucial role in shaping our collective legacies, women are statistically less likely than men to create an estate plan.

This disparity is not surprising, given the historical obstacles women have faced. As recently as the 1970s, women could not open their own bank accounts, let alone take control of their financial futures. Even now, women continue to confront challenges such as interrupted work histories due to caregiving responsibilities and lower salaries than their male counterparts. It's an understatement to say that women have been placed at a significant financial disadvantage, which is why proactive estate planning is so important.

Why estate planning is crucial

Another reason? On average, women live six to eight years longer than men. This means that women, who are more likely to outlive their partners, need to make sure they plan for their financial future in the event of a spouse's death. Estate planning can be a powerful tool for achieving financial freedom and security during retirement and beyond– not only for yourself but also for those you love.

At its core, estate planning involves creating a plan for how your assets will be distributed after your death. This includes anything from property and bank accounts to investments and personal belongings.

One of the primary reasons estate planning is crucial is that it allows you to maintain control over how your assets are distributed after you're gone. Without an estate plan, your assets may be subject to the laws of your state, which could result in a distribution that doesn't align with your wishes.

In addition, an estate plan can allow your wishes to be carried out in the event you ever become incapacitated. This can include decisions about your medical care, financial affairs, and other essential matters. With an estate plan in place, you can rest assured that your wishes will be followed, even if you cannot make decisions for yourself.

Furthermore, if you're a parent, an estate plan can be used to appoint a guardian for your children (and/or pets!) in the event of your death or incapacity. Knowing that your children will be cared for by someone you trust and who shares your values can give you peace of mind. Ultimately, estate planning is an essential task that can help you achieve your goals and leave a lasting impact on those you love.

Estate planning for women: resources to help you get started

For women, estate planning can be especially important because of their unique financial challenges. We all know that gender pay gaps and career interruptions can add up over time, which is why it's essential to take steps to protect your assets and plan for the future. By creating an estate plan that considers your financial goals and any potential obstacles, you can ensure that your hard work continues to impact your family and community for generations to come.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to protect their loved ones and preserve their legacy. That's why this International Women's Month, we're here to help you empower yourself so that you can pass on your stories and provide for your family with confidence.

For more resources on women and estate planning, be sure to check out these other helpful guides: 

Women of T&W: what motivated you to create an estate plan?

Gain insight into how estate planning can help women achieve financial freedom and build multigenerational wealth. We talked to women we work with at Trust & Will about what motivated them to start estate planning. Here's what they had to say.

Protecting my loved ones

“I have always looked at estate planning as an act of love you do to protect the people in your life. I created my estate plan as a tool to make sure that my loved ones would be protected from the uncertainty and confusion involved in the event of a tragedy, and I’m grateful for the peace of mind it provides me to know that I’ve done what I can to plan for the unthinkable.”

- Sara E, Associate Council

Big life changes all at once!

"I became a first-time home owner and first-time parent all within a few months.. during a pandemic! I suddenly realized I needed a plan in place if my husband or I were no longer here. It was so important that we name a guardian for my baby (and dog too!) and make sure our home was protected. Once I finished our estate plan, I breathed such a sigh of relief knowing everything would be taken care of how we wanted it to be. It took a huge weight off our shoulders."

- Laura G, Senior Social Media Specialist

Taking care of my family (fur babies, too!)

"I was motivated to create my own estate plan for my family because I have always been focused on finding security and couldn't believe that an estate plan was a stone I had left "unturned" as I continued into adulthood. It's very important for me to feel prepared and this was a big way that I could guarantee that my family (and fur babies) would be well taken care of if or when I do pass away."

- Ally S, People Operations

Buying a house

“My husband and I got married and bought a house within 3 months back in 2020. We realized that with such a big purchase, it was probably time to start thinking about what would happen if something happened to both or either of us. Getting a Trust completed and funded made us feel so much better just knowing that our blended family wouldn’t have any outstanding questions or confusion around our wishes.”

- Monica W, Head of Operations

Realizing how easy it was to do online

"I created an estate plan in 2021, right after joining Trust & Will. As a mom to two young daughters, I had to get my plan in place, but I didn't have the time or money to spend with a lawyer, so I always put it off. After seeing how easily it could be done online, I found the motivation to get it done!"

- Danielle N, Head of Communications

Designating my healthcare wishes

“I come from a healthcare background of working with traumatic brain injury. I used to think estate planning was only for the rich and didn’t think much about it. However, I quickly found how crucial it is to designate a Power of Attorney to make financial and healthcare decisions on my behalf should I ever find myself incapable. Once I started working at Trust & Will in the probate department, I realized how challenging the probate process can be and wanted to ensure my family members avoid it, if possible. This spurred my interest in establishing a Trust and learning more about how to protect my assets, family members, and furry friends!”

- Nicole P, Probate Member Experience Specialist

Getting married

"Starting my estate plan after getting married gave me peace of mind and helped us build a strong foundation for our future together. I realized that marriage comes with new responsibilities, including planning for the unexpected. Ultimately, creating an estate plan allowed me to focus on living my life to the fullest, since I was ready for the worst-case-scenario.”

- Patricia S, SEO Specialist

Overcoming mental hurdles

"Estate planning seems to be a somber topic that we tend to shy away from since it's tied to losing a family member and experiencing a great deal of sadness. Something that none of us want to think about, which leads to a gap in education around the importance of having one. I'd like to change the conversation around and educate families on the importance of creating an estate plan. Creating an estate plan allows you to prepare for the future and protect the ones you love -- seems like an optimistic way to think about it and will hopefully encourage more families to take action."

- Amanda M, Partnerships Marketing Manager

Plan for your legacy: create an estate plan today

Estate planning might not be the most exciting topic, but it's an important one that can help us all build a brighter future for ourselves and our loved ones. As we celebrate International Women's Month, let's take a moment to recognize the incredible women who have shaped our world and think about how we can all take steps to ensure that our legacies live on. So what do you want your legacy to be? Whether you're just starting out or need to update your existing documents, it's important to ensure that your wishes are carried out according to plan. Start estate planning today and gain the peace of mind that your legacy is secure.

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement  options today!

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Browse more topics in our learn center or chat with a live member support representative!