International Women’s Day 2024

By Mofoluke Keshinro, TEP

Happy International Women’s Month!

This year’s chosen theme strategically underscores the imperative of ensuring the inclusion of women. Inclusion holds the potential to empower women, providing them with a sense of worth and relevance. Embracing this theme could instill the necessary drive in women to achieve more, ensuring that their voices are not overshadowed during critical decision-making moments.

Particularly in estate planning, it is essential to prioritize the inclusion of women. Statistical data reveals that women, on average, outlive men by six years. Thus, it becomes imperative for women to safeguard themselves, their children, and jointly acquired assets, even when cultural norms might place the husband’s name on title documents.

Incorporating women into estate planning not only offers a sense of security but also assures them that provisions are in place for their families in the event of unforeseen circumstances. This proactive step encourages women to secure their personal assets by drafting a Will or establishing a Trust.

The inclusion of women in estate planning extends beyond joint ownership of assets or the application of the right of survivorship. It necessitates comprehensive instructions for asset utilization/distribution and addresses scenarios involving the incapacitation of both parties, considering that not all assets may be jointly owned.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day under the theme of ‘Inspiring Inclusion’, it is recommended that spouses involve women in estate planning right from the asset acquisition stage. With more women achieving high levels of success and acquiring assets independently or in collaboration with their spouses, taking charge of estate planning becomes crucial for their security and that of their children.

By proactively creating an estate plan or encouraging their spouses to do so, women establish structures that ensure peace of mind irrespective of any unforeseen events. Importantly, a well-structured estate plan benefits everyone involved.

As women increasingly become breadwinners for their households, planning for eventualities such as incapacitation or death becomes paramount. Therefore, there is a pressing need for the inclusion of women in estate planning decisions.

Recognizing that giving women opportunities for inclusion boosts their confidence and relevance, it is essential for couples to jointly decide on the type of planning structure or tool to adopt. This may include a Living Trust, Education Trust for children, Life Insurance, Power of Attorney, or a Deed of Gift for one-off gifts, or opting for a comprehensive Will that mirrors each other’s directives on asset distribution.

To be truly appreciated, women are encouraged to confidently assert themselves, ensuring that their contributions and values are recognized. Women should actively participate in the wealth transfer planning process, solving potential problems and, even in cases where their spouses may not be initially interested, communicate the benefits, and seek guidance from experts.

Let us collectively inspire the inclusion of women in all facets of life.