Because the expected norm is that the wife will live longer than the husband, estate planning will generally focus on ensuring that the husband's estate is properly designed to be sure the wife will have the necessary assets to support herself independently during the remaining active years of her life.
This was especially true for couples when the wife did not work outside the home and new research reveals that the old assumption is no longer entirely accurate as UPI reports in "Study: Women live longer than men, but with more disabilities."
Over the last few decades the average life expectancy of both men and women has increased. Male life expectancy has increased more than female life expectancy. In fact, men have caught up with women in the number of years they can expect to live active, independent lives.
Correspondingly, women who live longer than their male counterparts have an increased rate of disability that limits their activity and ability to live independently.
This study helps confirm the notion that medical science has achieved great strides in prolonging life, but preventing the disabling diseases and conditions that afflict the elderly has lagged behind.
If these trends continue, married couples may be wise to contact an estate planning attorney to reconsider options.
Reference: UPI (March 18, 2016) "Study: Women live longer than men, but with more disabilities."