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All the Single Ladies

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

MassMutual Insurance Company had a financial program for women called “Never Kissed a Frog, Never Had To”. That always got a laugh, but it was more than funny - it had some harsh truths about women and money. Everyone needs to do legal and financial planning, but women can be more vulnerable than men and yet they are often less likely to plan.

Why are women more vulnerable? Let’s look at it.

A woman who never marries or has children often becomes the caregiver for her parents. She makes sure that their needs are met and reviews their legal papers to be sure everything is in order. But in this process, she may forget herself. Who will help her or better yet, who would she like to help her in her need? That may be a family member, but it may also be a friend and unless she says this in the correct legal documents, someone else may care for her. Someone she would prefer not do so.

Then there is the woman who was married and may have children but got divorced. Statistics say that her financial situation will go down while her former partner (if a man) will go up, so she may need to get guidance from a financial planner. But she may also forget to review and update her estate planning. A divorce proceeding is emotionally challenging and the last thing on someone’s mind is seeing another attorney. Understandable, but at some point, it is time to say – now I am ready.

And then there is the widow. She may be in a better financial situation than a divorced woman, but she also may not have managed the finances and might need to update/adjust the estate planning done with her husband, who may have been the sole or primary decision maker. Where does she start especially when still grieving?

So, what do single ladies need to do when there is no “ring on the finger”?

Two things: review their financial situation with a financial professional and review estate planning – or lack thereof - with an attorney.

A widow may have some documents in place, but these should always be checked to see if they need changes. And if there are none, at least do the minimum: Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Last Will and Testament. Complex planning like a Trust may make sense, but rather than put it all off because it is intimidating, just do these four.

Remember that if there is nothing in place and someone needs to make health care or financial decisions for you, they can’t do it without a Power of Attorney. And if you have not done a Last Will and Testament, the State of Ohio has one for you. Don’t let that happen. If you are tough enough to be a single lady, you are tough enough to get this done. No ring needed.

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