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Women: Law & Money


Law Matters

Women and the Law    The law says every adult American, male and female, must make his or her own personal, health care and financial decisions. But what if an injury or illness left you physically or mentally incapacitated? Who would make the important decisions for you? Would you rather your decisions be made by someone you have appointed through appropriate legal documents or by someone appointed for you by a court? The choice is yours, but legal planning in advance usually means less expense, more convenience and greater privacy for you and your loved ones.
    Regardless of whether you are married or single, if you have minor children, have you executed appropriate legal documents concerning their care should they become orphans? Who will provide a safe and secure home for them, as well as help develop their moral character? Who will manage their inheritance and protect it for them and from them? The failure to address these issues may negatively affect your children well into adulthood.
    Even if you have no children, you likely have definite ideas about who should inherit (and who should not inherit) your assets. In the absence of appropriate legal documents containing your instructions, state law will control. In most instances, these laws would distribute estate assets to your surviving next-of-kin, which may differ from your wishes.

Money Matters

    Are you working with a financial advisor who is focused on your financial security? Or are you working with a financial salesperson who is focused on their financial security? Studies confirm that you are more likely to reach your financial goals if you are working with a competent financial advisor. Regardless, when it comes to investing your money, there are two fundamental concepts every woman should know: risk & reward and asset allocation.
    Whenever you invest your money in an asset, there is a very real risk that you will be disappointed in its performance. This risk that you will be disappointed in a given asset type is known as its investment risk. Naturally, for the risk you assume when investing in a given asset type, you expect a reward (or return) on your investment. In fact, at some future point you probably expect both the return of your money and the return on it.
    The key, therefore, is to balance the potential risk & reward for your overall investments according to your personal risk tolerance. It is critical that your risk tolerance is reflected in the allocation of your assets.
    An appropriate definition of asset allocation can be summed up as follows: Don’t put your eggs in one basket. Simply put, asset allocation is an investment strategy that seeks to balance risk & reward by spreading the investment of your money over a number of asset types. Furthermore, your unique approach to asset allocation will vary based on a variety of factors, to include your investment goals (e.g., accumulation versus current income), your time horizon (e.g., college funding versus retirement), your need for liquidity (e.g., the ability to readily turn the investment into cash), your risk tolerance (e.g., are you more interested in the return of your money versus the return on your money?), your tax status (e.g., the impact of an investment on your tax burden), and current, as well as forecasted economic conditions (e.g., how optimistic or pessimistic are you about the present and future of inflation, interest rates and the overall economy?).
    A financial advisor can help you determine your risk tolerance based on such factors and design a basket (portfolio) of eggs (investments) that is most appropriate for you. Then, over time, your financial advisor will help you adjust the basket of eggs as your circumstances change.

Final Thoughts

    In the process of nurturing and caring for her loved ones, every woman should take time to make sure she has addressed her fundamental Law Matters and Money Matters. This article has been a brief, general introduction to rather complex subjects. Competent professional advice should be sought.

Daughter Syndrome

The Daughter Syndrome    A woman today may play a wide variety of roles during her lifetime. For example, while she may begin life as a daughter, she also may find herself cast as an aunt, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a friend, a mother, a grandmother or even a great-grandmother. And, more often than not, a woman will be cast as the primary nurturer and caregiver in most of her intra-family roles. It is within the context of such intra-family relationships that a woman may experience the Daughter Syndrome. In this brief article we will introduce the Daughter Syndrome and offer a few observations to help you survive it.

The Experience

   Commonly, the Daughter Syndrome begins when a woman helps rear her siblings and then, perhaps, her own children to adulthood. Thereafter, as her parents and in-laws age, she may find herself cast in the role of chauffer, shuttling them between medical appointments. Not long after that, she may find herself cast in the role of negotiator as she helps coordinate their long-term care requirements. Eventually, the dutiful daughter will similarly care for her husband until his death … and she is left as the last leaf of her generation on the family tree. Question: Who will be nurturer and the caregiver for this loyal and dutiful daughter?

Three Steps

    The first step in surviving the Daughter Syndrome is to recognize when you are in it and to accept that you are not Superwoman. Do not try to do everything yourself. Look for assistance within your family; through your church, synagogue, or local support groups; and from the appropriate governmental agencies (e.g., meals-on-wheels programs).
    The second step is to have a plan of action. Do you have your own legal and financial planning in order? If you do, then it is much easier to get your loved ones to do the same. In turn, this will make it easier for you to help them without court interference or undue financial hardship.
    The third step is to actually implement and maintain your own plan of action. It has been said that talk is cheap. Here you must walk your talk. Your estate attorney can help assemble a team of professional advisors, and serve as their quarterback, to make the process less painful for you and your loved ones.

The Bottom Line

    If you follow the three steps outlined above, then you will be better prepared to survive the Daughter Syndrome. As a result, even if you are the last leaf on the tree, then you will have your legal and financial affairs in order. And that is critical, too, these days.
    Today’s daughters (and daughters-in-law) often live time zones away, with busy families and outside careers of their own. Accordingly, you should seriously consider purchasing a state-of-the-art Long-Term Care Insurance policy to make sure there will be a caregiver available when you need one. Many policies today cover private in-home care, as well as skilled nursing home care. Do not delay. Your health will determine your insurability.

This publication does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material.

Content Copyright 2011 Integrity Marketing Solutions