It’s Women’s History month, which means we’re to be highlighting and celebrating women and their contributions to history and society. Given my unique business, I’d like to highlight an often underappreciated role that women take on with the hope that it may help change the course of your, or the women in your lives’, future.
As you may know, women and daughters tend to be the caregivers for aging parents. According to Caregiver.org, the average caregiver is a 49 year old woman who works outside the home and provides 20 hours per week of unpaid care to her mother. So it should be no surprise that the oldest daughter is most likely to be named executor.
The job of an executor can be quite complex and usually requires a lot of time to complete. Some sources estimate that it takes between 420-570 hours of work on average to settle an estate by an executor. If you’re the executor, that’s time taken away from your job, family and/or other responsibilities. The amount of work may be compounded if you’re unprepared or don’t have the info needed to do the job.
So if you are the oldest or only daughter and have aging parents or loved ones, here are a few questions you need to ask to help you be more prepared, either as a caregiver or eventual executor:
- Who is the executor? If not you, who is?
- Where are the important estate planning documents – power of attorney, advance healthcare directives, will?
- How do they keep track of passwords? Who knows the unlock code to their phone or computer?
- How do they pay bills? What are their assets, debts and liabilities?
- Where are their financial, investment and banking accounts housed?
- Who are their trusted advisors – attorney, accountant, financial advisor, etc?
- Do they have any prepaid funeral plans in place? Do they want a traditional burial, cremation or other option?
I know this can feel overwhelming. Believe me, as a daughter who has lost both her parents and has served as an executor twice, I’ve been there. While I’m not here to take up a debate on gender norms or politics, I am here to help the women in my world be more prepared. Who knows, maybe by bringing it top of mind, perhaps it will help ensure a smoother path for the ladies who are usually caught holding the proverbial bag.