Doing your estate planning often means considering who will be the surviving spouse, what that means for the transfer of assets and the need for medical care, and how the assets will then get passed on to the rest of the family when the surviving spouse eventually passes away as well.
So, if you are in an opposite-sex marriage, who is likely to be that surviving spouse, the husband or the wife? What does that mean for your planning and the administration of your estate?
Of course, every situation is unique, but the reality is that women do tend to live longer than men. According to some studies, the difference is about five years — a life expectancy of 76 for men and 81 for women.
Why does this happen? Some of it is just genetics. Many professionals think that 20 to 30 percent of the length of your life stems from genetics, something you can never change. That’s just the hand you have been dealt. Other potential reasons include:
- What type of lifestyle you choose
- Whether or not you exercise regularly
- What you choose to eat consistently
- If you take good care of your body by washing, brushing your teeth, flossing and the like
- If you get enough high-quality sleep
- How stressful your daily routine is
There are numerous factors. That makes every person and every relationship unique. Still, the averages tell a clear story, and it is important for couples to take this into account when they are doing their estate planning. You need to know exactly what options you have to set up a plan that works for your family.