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Why women must become financially empowered and secure

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How to avoid financial turmoil after the loss of your partner.

The life you live can become difficult emotionally and financially after your spouse passes.  It can become even more daunting, if there was never a frank discussion about the family’s estate and financial planning. You need to ask questions now, to avoid additional turmoil later on.

An overwhelming majority of American women will have to bear responsibility for their own financial security by virtue of widowhood, divorce or choosing to remain single. Women tend to earn less money than men and work fewer years on average. Women who are currently retired or nearing retirement are less likely to have been eligible for pensions than are men in their age groups.

You owe it to yourself, and your families, to ensure you are financially secure. I also advise, not to sign any waivers of spousal rights without a sound understanding and financial reason to do so. Do not assume your husband, father or boyfriend has taken care of your estate plan, or has done this with all factors considered.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know what property you own personally?
  • Do you know how your assets are titled?
  • Do you own property jointly or are they in your husband’s name?
  • Do you have a will or trust and does it include your wishes?
  • What are your individual and combined debts? Are you liable for his debts?
  • Will you be liable for his credit card debt upon his death?
  • If his business fails, do you lose your home?
  • Who is the beneficiary of his life insurance, IRA, or pension plan?
  • Will you receive a portion of your husband’s social security upon his death?
  • What long-term health care insurance do you have?
  • Are securities portfolios in your name also?
  • Have all savings and checking accounts been placed in joint names?

Women live longer, which means they are likely to become widowed and live on their own for a number of years. Without proper estate planning while married, many will see their standard of living reduced during their retirement years.   

Those in second marriages will need estate planning that provides for them, but does not disinherit children from the previous marriage. It is abundantly clear, that a woman, who has participated in the planning process when a spouse was alive, feels more secure and empowered to cope with the change of being on their own.

Be educated! Be proactive! 

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About the Author: Leonard F. Baer

Leonard Baer's practice focuses on Elder Law, and Estate Planning. His previous experience was in the area of complex criminal litigation, serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division for The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Baer was recognized by the Office of The Attorney General, as one of the top prosecutors in the country during his tenure. He has been included in North Carolina Top Rated Lawyers, a distinction awarded to those lawyers recognized by their colleagues as leaders in their field. He has also been recognized by the Florida Bar, for his efforts in representing seniors and their families, who are victims of scams and fraud. Mr. Baer is an AV rated lawyer listed in Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in their Bar Registrar of Preeminent Lawyers, which for over 90 years, includes only those select law practices that have earned their highest rating. He has been designated by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent in his field, and in the top 5% of all lawyers practicing in the United States. Mr. Baer has also been ranked by AVVO, an online Legal Directory of over 200,000 lawyers nationally, as Superb, their highest rating. He served as adjunct professor of Sports Law at The University of Miami, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Fraud Protection. He has been a columnist for several newspapers for over 13 years and currently has a nationally syndicated blog, “As I See It” with a readership of over 25,000. Leonard is a Guest Contributor of The Silver Life and has recently launched a new service called SuddenlySolo1 -

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