Every March 8th, people come together to celebrate International Women’s Day, which is a holiday that recognizes the achievements of women in history (and today). It has us thinking—how are you protecting the women in your life? Our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and more deserve to have the best legal protection they can. One way you can show appreciation is to help them set up an estate plan. Below are just a few of the many ways that an estate plan can protect you.

Gives You Agency, Even After You Die 

Though the question of what happens after death is a complicated one, estate plans provide at least one part of the answer. These plans are best-known for helping you determine where your assets will go after you die. With documents like will, trust, and more, you can decide what happens to your things after you die (or perhaps even sooner, if you choose a will).

The consequences of not having at least this mechanism in place can be dire. If someone dies intestate with no will, her estate will be divided up by probate court. Probate courts want to settle debt—assets that she might have wanted to go to family could be liquidated to pay off creditors, leaving the family entirely. 

Can Minimize Taxes 

As estate planning is about protecting loved ones, this includes keeping them from getting a huge tax bite from the IRS. When you estate-plan, you transfer assets to heirs, keeping in mind that you want to create the smallest-possible burden for them, as far as taxes go.

Even a small amount of estate planning can help you reduce much—or, if you’re lucky, even all—of their state and federal estate taxes, as well as their state inheritance taxes. There are ways to decrease tax beneficiaries’ income tax, and, without an estate plan in place, you could end up owing good ol’ Uncle Sam quite a bit.

Will Help Your Kids 

We’ve talked about asset transfer and tax shielding, but, if your kids are young, an estate plan can help them in another way. While estate plans have a reputation for being all about the last will and testament, in reality, they are so much more. One document commonly seen in an estate plan is guardianship papers. 

If you have young kids, use these documents to appoint a guardian for them in the event that something happens to you and your spouse. You can choose a trusted relative or close friend for this position, though you should make sure that you speak with them first before putting the paperwork in place. 

Will Protect You, Even When Incapacitated

Most peoples’ worst nightmare is being so sick that they’re stuck in a hospital for days at a time, if not longer. Sadly, these situations happen, and, if you have an estate plan in place, you can keep your finances and healthcare decisions the same as if you were in tip-top shape.

Documents such as a healthcare directive and power of attorney will allow you to make decisions for yourself, either ahead of time or through a trusted proxy. These types of documents are especially important if you are ill already or suffer from preexisting health complications. 

Helps Avoid Tricky Family Situations

Ah, families. They’re wonderful in so many ways, but every family has drama, at least to some extent. Some of that drama can spill over after you die. Estate plans stop fights before they can begin, as they let you pick who controls your finances (power of attorney) or who gets your things after you die. Though will challenges are not unheard of, an estate plan, when properly prepared, should be impervious to those. 

An estate plan can offer great protection to people who need it. If this sounds like something you want for your female relatives, bring them in for a consultation with an estate planning attorney. This attorney can help guide them on what their estate plan should entail.