As a result of the pandemic, women are more financially exposed than ever.
According to our latest Household Financial Wellness Insights, released together with UNISA, women who make up 51.1% of the South African population, were hardest hit by the lockdown.
Just over a million either lost their jobs or were prevented from working.
Unfortunately, the unintended knock-on effect of this on future generations intensifies when a female breadwinner passes away.
South African women need to ensure that, should they pass away, the winding up of their estates is as pain-free as possible for loved ones left behind.
According to the same report, women are already at a disadvantage, even if you didn’t add a pandemic into the mix.
The unfortunate truth is that women have little control over their income in many households when compared to their male counterparts. Although women are exposed to day-to-day budgeting, they are more inclined to leave long-term financial planning and issues to their partners.
It was found that 33.6% of households where the Financially Knowledgeable Person (FKP) was a male were financially well; this was only the case with 20.4% of female FKP households.
Furthermore, only 13.2% of female FKP households have an up-to-date singed will, compared to 20.7% of male FKP households.
Women need to start taking charge of their legacies
It is critical for women, especially those heading their households, to take charge of their estate planning.
We are all going to pass away one day. The COVID-19 era has only reinforced the urgency to get our affairs in order and protect those we leave behind, as our time may come sooner than we think.
The report revealed that women, much more than men, reported feeling that they are ‘pushed around in life’, with little they can do to change the things that matter in their lives.
The result? A sense of helplessness when dealing with life’s challenges; with one of the greatest being keeping their families protected in the event of their untimely death.
Understanding the cost of a legacy
There is a great financial cost to winding up an estate that is very often underestimated. In many instances, the absence of a financial plan results in the wishes of the deceased person not being actionable. This is normally due to assets needing to be sold to cover expenses.
The reality on the ground is that many South Africans don’t even have enough money in their estates when they pass away, to provide sufficient liquidity to settle the expenses incurred by actually winding up their estate. This liquidity not only enables the executor to settle these expenses, but also to action their wishes in line with their Last Will and Testament.
Unfortunately, grieving loved ones are often left to shoulder the financial burden. This is not the legacy that most of us want to leave behind, especially if you are the sole breadwinner of your household as many women are. To avoid this scenario, the financial adviser has a crucial role to fulfil.
A legacy begins and ends with a plan
It is critically important, especially considering the stark inequality that women face when it comes to financial wellness, to ensure that you have a financial plan in place that includes a will to ensure your wishes are actionable.
Put differently, without a financial plan backing it up, you may have a legal will that may be difficult to execute.
Women need to appoint a qualified executor to ensure that their loved ones inherit as intended. An executor of an estate is an individual appointed to administer your estate when you pass on and should generally be an impartial person.
Finding the right solution
To help South Africans gain complete peace of mind when dealing with the loss of a loved one, we have enhanced our professional will drafting and deceased estate administration offerings through our Estate Provider Benefit.
This unique packaged solution provides the necessary funds to settle the often unforeseen professional fees that arise during the administration of a deceased estate including executor fees, conveyancing fees, fixed property or motor vehicle transfer costs, trust costs, taxes, existing debt, sworn appraiser’s valuation fees, fees relating to the Master of the High Court and more.
Women have it hard enough as it is. Many of us are bravely leading our families into a better future, but should we pass away, we need to make sure we leave our loved ones with the legacy they deserve without the hassle of financial burden.