Estate Planning for Women
Let us tell you about our experience meeting with clients, and it will explain why we have chosen to transform our practice to be centered around serving women.
As an Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney for 26 years, Charles B. Pyke, Jr. and the law firm of Pyke & Associates, P.C. has administered literally thousands of estates. In our experience 80% of the time the husband dies first or experiences an incapacity first. So the attorneys within our firm find ourselves sitting with a woman who has just lost her spouse or is now the caregiver for her spouse.
The next most recurring scenario is the widow who becomes incapacitated and we are sitting there with her daughter who is now the primary caregiver. These women are often frightened and full of worry. Suddenly they feel like they have lost some of their financial security and independence. You see, they want to do a good job handling all the legal and financial affairs they now face alone, but they do not necessarily understand WHAT to do, HOW to do, WHY to do or even WHEN to do.
We have seen their fear cause them to simply do nothing. They may forget to pay property or income taxes, keep the insurance in force, forget to take the required amounts out of retirement plans or they take the money from the least tax efficient accounts. Everything is so overwhelming and seems so out of control. We have also seen these women taken advantage of by others, even by family. It is SO disturbing because we KNOW that is NOT what their husbands would’ve wanted, it’s not what they want, and it is not the way the daughter helping mom wants to feel. So we decided…this HAS to change. With respect to our firm, we must begin to empower these women to be better prepared for this likely scenario. So year ago, we began to transform our practice to prepare, educate and empower women to avoid that scenario.
Most of our women clients are principled women. They operate on a set of core values or principles that are very consistent with ours – good stewardship. These women are eager to learn and strive to be good stewards of their wealth. They want to be engaged in the process so they can make a positive impact on their future and that of their family.
And you know what’s interesting? It doesn’t matter what their walk of life is, or how they accumulated what they have, these women usually all have the same financial fears. Now that they have lost their spouse most of them wonder or have these same three concerns:
- Now that I have lost my spouse, will I run out of money?
- If I am not going to run out of money will I be able to maintain my lifestyle? In other words, will I now have to live on a budget?
- And finally, will I now become a physical or financial burden on my family or my children?
Helping Women Protect Their Estates
So the first thing we do is empower these women is to create and implement their Stewardship Plan which immediately addresses their greatest areas of risk. The Stewardship Plan consists of their base estate plan (wills, trusts, powers of attorney for financial and health) and a complete financial checkup to help them get a handle on their financial condition. The result of having their estate plan in order and knowledge of financial conditions and identifying concerns which need addressing is what we call their “Stewardship Plan”.
As they become a client of our other firms, our Pyke Family of Firms team helps them implement their “Wealth Strategy Plan” that incorporates their purpose for their wealth. Finally, these women become a member of our “Stewardship University” where we host fun filled educational events throughout the year designed to educate, engage and build confidence in these women to maintain their plans. Stewardship University is held exclusively for women.
If you are a woman, or if you have an important woman in your life, you need to attend one of our Estate Planning Seminars listed on our website. These classes are designed with women in mind who are eager to learn and who strive to be good stewards of their wealth.