Financial Well-Being: What Every Woman Should Know

Women Who've planned for tomorrow enjoy life today!

Putting sound financial plans in place today will help you achieve your financial dreams tomorrow. Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc., sponsors free financial planning seminars throughout the year. 

Listed below is information to help you get started with your financial planning.

What Are Your Goals?

Print this out and grab a pencil and begin the process below.

I want to achieve the following goals:





Now take your goals and do the following:

1. Rate the importance of each goal on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = extremely important)

2. Amount of money needed to fund the goal (in today's dollars, per year)

3. Amount already available

4. Ability to fund/invest on an ongoing basis to reach goal (per month)

5. How will you feel if you do not achieve this goal

Determine your financial assets and net worth using this worksheet:


Property Assets                          $_________               

Residence                                   $_________         Home mortgage $_______

Vacation or second home           $_________         Other mortgages $_______

Automobiles                                $_________          Auto Loans $_______

Furnishings                                 $_________           Personal Loans $_______

Jewelry and art                          $_________          Charge/credit card accounts $______

Other property assets                $_________         Other debts  $______

Cash Reserve Assets                $_________         Total Liabilities $_______________

Checking Accounts                   $_________          Total Assets  $________________

Savings Accounts                      $_________         Less total liabilities $_______________

Certificates of deposit               $_______            Your Net Worth $________________

Other cash reserve                   $_________

Equity Assets

Real Estate                                     $_________

Stocks                                             $_________

Mutual Funds                                 $________

Variable annuities                          $________

Life insurance with cash value      $_______

IRA, SEP, 401K or 403B plans     $_______

Business interests                          $_______

Other equity assets                        $_______

Fixed Assets

Government bonds                         $_______

Municipal bonds                             $_______

Corporate bonds                             $_______

Face amount certificates                $_______

Fixed Annuities                               $_______

Other Fixed Assets                         $_______

Total Assets                                   $_______________

Figuring Your Cash Flow

Monthly Income

Social Security                                                  $________

Pension income                                                 $________

Wages, salary, tips                                           $_________

Dividends from stock, mutual funds etc.         $_________

Interest on savings accounts, CD's etc.          $_________

Annuities                                                            $_________

Other                                                                  $_________

Total Monthly Income                                     $_____________

Monthly Expenditures

Housing (rent, mortgage, property taxes, household maintenance)              $_______

Essentials (food, clothing, medical & dental)                                                  $_______

Child Care (day care & babysitters)                                                                $_______

Taxes (income, property & social security)                                                     $_______

Utilities (gas, electric, telephone etc.)                                                              $_______

Transportation (car loans, gas, car maintenance, trains, air fare, taxi & bus)$_______

Leisure (entertainment, travel, vacation home mortgage, club dues)             $_______

Loan & installment payments (credit & charge cards)                                    $_______

Insurance (auto, health, homeowners, life, long-term care & disability)        $_______

Gifts, charitable contributions                                                                           $_______

Investments                                                                                                        $_______

Other Investments                                                                                             $_______

Total Monthly Expenses                                                                      $_______________

Net Cash Flow                                                                                      $_______________

Total Monthly Income                                                                         $_______________

Less Total Monthly Expenses                                                            $________________

Your Discretionary Monthly Income                                                  $_________________

Everyone should have the following:

A Will

A Health Care Surrogate (someone you trust that can make health decisions if you are unable to act on your own behalf)

A Durable Power of Attorney (someone you trust who can pay your bills and make other pressing decisions if you are unable to act on your own behalf)

A Living Will (a legal document that will direct your health care surrogate and medical professionals if you are unable to act on your own behalf)

Now is the time put your financial plan into action, obtain the four documents you need to help secure your plan and make your decision about charitable gifting so that your wishes may be carried out.


What Will You Leave Behind?

footprints.jpg (6212 bytes)Everyone leaves footprints. Our prints are made by the impression of our lives

on the sands of time. A person is remembered for the weight of his or her

character. For marks of accomplishment. For depth of faith. For beliefs. For shapes

of kindness. For length of compassion. For width of personal warmth.

For generosity. For values. When we leave positive impressions behind, we enhance the

lives of our friends and loved ones. We give them footprints to follow.


Leaving a legacy can be as simple as including the Women’s Peacepower Foundation, Inc. or another

charity as a beneficiary of 1% of your estate through a bequest gift. This means you make a decision

and plans now for your estate that will one day provide a legacy for years to come.

Leave a Legacy of Love


For more information please contact Diane McCabe at Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1618, Zephyrhills, FL 33539.


scales.wmf (2902 bytes)


(Not a legal document until executed by an attorney. Please contact WPPF for a list of attorneys to assist with review and execution of this type of document)


I, ________________________, residing at _________________________,

do make, publish and declare this to be a Codicil to the last Will and Testament executed by me on the _________ day of _________, 2003. I give ________% (or $________) (or the rest, remainder and residue) of my net probate estate to Women's Peacepower Foundation of Zephyrhills, Florida. This gift shall be placed in the organization's Endowment Fund. The income only generated by this fund shall be used each year for the following purposes:


As used in the ITEM of this Codicil, the term "net probate estate" shall mean the total assets included in the principal of my probate estate reduced by all lawful debts, claims and expenses paid as from my probate estate, except for estate, inheritance, succession or similar taxes paid as a result of my death.

In all other respects I ratify and confirm all of the provisions of my said last Will and Testament dated on the _________ day of ______________, 2003.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I sign, publish and declare this instrument to be a Codicil to my last Will and Testament in the presence of the persons witnessing said Codicil at my request this _____ day of ___________, 2003.

_________________________ residing at __________________________


_________________________ residing at ___________________________


_________________________ residing at ___________________________



  1. This publication has been reviewed by independent legal counsel. However, this sample wording for a Codicil should be used ONLY WITH ASSISTANCE OF AN ATTORNEY.
  2. By definition a Codicil is a Will according to the provisions of the Florida Revised code. Hence, the Codicil must be executed with the required formalities of the Florida Revised code.
  3. You may also make a bequest that gives income for life to a surviving spouse or other person. Fixed income payments will be made to the person you name for as long as that person lives. After this person's death, the principal remaining in the account goes to Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc. To make this type of bequest, include the following wording in your Will or Codicil:

I give ______% of my net probate estate (or $ ______) to the Women's Peacepower Foundation of Dade City, Florida, to establish a Gift Annuity Agreement for (name of Person) by which it agrees to pay him/her an annual annuity determined by multiplying the value of gift amount by the applicable annuity rate based upon his/her age at the date of gift. Upon the annuitant's death the obligation to make annuity payments shall terminate, in accordance with the provisions of the Gift Annuity Agreement, and thereupon the remainder shall be available for use by the Women's Peacepower Foundation of Zephyrhills, Florida, for the organization's endowment fund. If (name of designated income recipient) shall predecease me, the said bequest shall be distributed outright to the Women's Peacepower Foundation as indicated above.

For more information contact: Diane McCabe Vaughan, Director, Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1618, Zephyrhills, FL 33539.

              LIFE PLANNING:



Hunter & Thomas, P.A.

  Attorneys and Counselors at Law



Imagine that you receive a call from the hospital.  Your mother has suffered a stroke.  Little hope of survival is given, but some options are offered.  She may remain a vegetable even if these medical technologies are utilized, or she may not live despite undergoing the advanced medical efforts.  Additionally, she will need a feeding and hydration tube if she is to be kept alive, and if her heart should stop, efforts to resuscitate her would have to be made to keep her from dying.  Would you know what your mother would choose for herself?  Have you ever discussed such issues?

         Imagine that you and your mother have discussed her desire to die more naturally under circumstances such as this, and you convey that knowledge to the doctor.  Would you be surprised if the doctor informed you that unless you can produce a living will, a health care proxy, or a durable power of attorney that includes giving you the right to make all medical decisions for your mother when she is incapacitated, the doctors most likely will feel professionally obligated to proceed with every medical treatment available to save her life, despite possible pain and needless suffering it may cause, or unwanted extension of her life? 

Imagine that your mother has been hospitalized for three weeks.  Medical bills are piling up, and you need to access money in your mother's bank account.  Is your name on her bank account?  Do you have durable power of attorney that allows you to write checks from her account?  If not, you will be denied access to her bank account, and will either have to ward off creditors, or pay out of your own pocket.  To obtain the right to access her account, you would have to go through what may be a time-consuming guardianship proceedings in which your mother's incompetence will have to be proven so that you can be named her legal guardian -- unless the court believes someone else should be named as guardian. 

Imagine that your mother does die from the stroke.  Is she an organ donor?  Did she want to be cremated, or buried? Did she have life insurance?  Did she have a will?  Do you know where her documents are stored? If she does not have a will, would you expect that you and your siblings would be able to decide how to divide her estate?  Would you be surprised to know that the estate would have to be divided according to state law, regardless of your knowledge of contrary wishes?

            What if it was you who had a stroke, or a car accident?  Would your loved ones know what to do?  Would you have made the situation easier for them by preparing the necessary documents?


  There are at least five legal instruments that should be prepared and signed in advance of the events that make them necessary. They are:

  1. Will
  2. Durable Power of Attorney, authorized by Florida Statutes, §709.08
  3. Health Care Proxy/Surrogate, authorized by Florida Statutes, §765.201-205
  4. Preneed Guardian, authorized by Florida Statutes, 744.3045 (adult) 744.3046 (minor) 
  5. Living Will, authorized by Florida Statutes, §765.302-310

1.  Will

            A Will is a document that instructs how assets are to pass and to whom at the time of death.  Do not think that because your assets are not that of a wealthy person, a Will is not needed.  If a person dies without a Will, then his or her estate is distributed according to state intestate laws rather than the wishes of the family, or even the known wishes of the decedent.  Unless a Will has been executed, the probate court, in accordance with state law, will dictate distribution of the assets and will assign someone to oversee administration and closing of the estate -- someone who charges a fee that may be as high as 5% of the value of the estate.  This could be detrimental to a surviving spouse, surviving children, and contrary to the intentions of the decedent.  The biggest detriment is that estate taxes will most definitely be higher if no Will exists; they can consume up to as much as 70% of the estate

            A Will need not be complex, and the most basic Will can be drafted by a lawyer for less than $300. The cost may be significantly higher, depending on the extent of the estate and the planning needed.  The main ingredients of a Will are statements regarding: (1) the assets, property and other items in the estate; (2) what property/assets will be used to pay taxes, debts and funeral expenses; (3) what property/assets will be distributed and to whom; (4) who will receive the remainder of the estate after taxes/debts/funeral expenses are paid and after designated assets are distributed; and (5) who will be the executor of the estate (i.e. the person who will administer the estate, pay taxes, and distribute property/assets according to the will; also known as a Personal Representative of an estate).

If you have a Will, be sure it is up-to-date.  Each individual, even if married, should have his or her own Will to avoid confusion.  Also check to be sure that the Will is signed, dated, and witnessed by at least two persons, who are not beneficiaries of the estate.  You should also speak with an attorney regarding the possible benefits of creating documents called living trusts, or including in the Will the establishment of a trust for a beneficiary. 

If there are changes in your life after you execute your Will, such as marriage, divorce, death of a child, etc., you may need to update your Will.   If you want to change your Will, do not make handwritten edits on the Will. All changes must be properly witnessed.  Ideally, you should create a new Will, state in it that it replaces all prior Wills, execute it property (witnesses, etc.), and destroy the prior Will.  Alternatively, prepare a codicil (an addendum) to your existing Will; follow the same formalities required when executing as Will, and be sure the codicil accompanies all copies of the Will.  

You should also consider preparing a Memorandum for Disposition of your Tangible Personal Property that is not specifically disposed of in your Will.  Examples of tangible personal property are jewelry, clothing, china, silverware, collectables, furniture and appliances, electronics, etc.   You cannot include intangible personal property such as securities, evidences of indebtedness, money, property used in trade or business, and documents of title in such a Memorandum.

As stated in Section 732.515, Florida Statutes, this Memorandum will allow for distribution of tangible personal property according to your wishes even if the Memorandum is not made until after the Will is signed, and even if it is altered over the years.  It must be in your handwriting or signed by you.  If you do alter the Memorandum after its initial creation, it would be best to make a new Memorandum altogether and destroy the previous one rather than edit with cross-outs and margin notes. 

The Memorandum cannot alter and will not affect the dispositions made by the Will.  Therefore, if a Memorandum is utilized, it must be carefully coordinated with provisions in the Will.  You should refer to the Memorandum in your Will.  Furthermore, because the testator may forget to include an item of tangible personal property in the Memorandum, or destroy or lose the Memorandum without replacement, a tangible personal property provision in the Will should direct that any tangible personal property not listed in a Memorandum for disposition of tangible personal property shall is to be distributed in a specified manner (e.g., to surviving spouse, but if not surviving, then adult child).

Finally, you may wish to write a Letter of Instruction to attach to the Will.  This is an informal document that is not legally binding but is very helpful to survivors because it provides instructions on personal matters and miscellaneous issues not included in the Will itself.  For example, instructions on: (1) who should be invited to the funeral, location of burial, etc.; (2) names and numbers of service providers (doctors, lawyers, security system, financial advisor, credit card companies, electric company...); (3) instructions and explanations of household items and equipment, and an appraisal of their value; and (4) any other imaginable issue that comes to mind which others will need to know, or which the decedent wishes for others to know.  If you think this is unnecessary because your spouse knows all of this information, keep in mind that you and your spouse could die simultaneously.


The name of this document is a bit misleading.  It does not give anyone "power of attorney" or otherwise make a person an attorney.  Rather, it enables a person -- say a parent -- who is known as "the principal" to grant the authority to another person -- say the adult child -- who is known as "the attorney-in-fact" or "the agent" to act in a legal capacity on behalf of the principal.  For example, if I were your agent and you authorized me to handle your financial and real property affairs, I could buy or rent property in your name, and sign a check from your account to pay for that transaction.  While I would gain this authority, you do not lose yours.  Instead, I can handle some matters for you when needed, but you can still do so as well.

The durable power of attorney is exercisable as of the date of execution.  Therefore, clearly, the agent must be a very trustworthy person, as should be any substitute agent named in the event that the agent is unable to perform this service when needed.  Do not take lightly the importance of who you choose as a fiduciary.  It is unfortunately true that this power could be abused to the detriment of the principal. 

If you have no one whom you trust enough to give this power, or if you do not wish for another person to have any power until you are incapacitated, you should ask an attorney about a “revocable living trust” which allows another person to manage your financial assets only in the event that you become incapacitated.  Most banks can provide some basic information about this option.

There is an important distinction between a "power of attorney" and a "durable power of attorney."  The former, a basic "power of attorney", is intended for temporary use, and will not remain in effect when the principal becomes incapacitated or incompetent.  For example, you could grant a friend "power of attorney" during a six-week vacation you are taking to Tahiti (nice fantasy...) so that your friend can pay your bills, and enroll your children in school.  If you are in an accident and become incapacitated, that power of attorney is void -- as it will be anyway after the six-week period during which it was intended to be in force.  This is not the type of document that will help under the circumstances described in the introduction, and falls short of what you should have your elderly loved ones sign, which is a "durable power of attorney."

A "durable power of attorney" contemplates that your loved one may become physically incapacitated or mentally incompetent and will need a designated person to step in her shoes and manage her affairs.  While your loved one is still of sound mind, you should have this document executed.  Once an individual is no longer competent, he or she can no longer appoint an agent to act on his or her behalf in this easy manner.1  Instead, a family member would have to petition the court to have the loved one declared incompetent and to be designated legal guardian.  Often family battles ensue over who should become guardian, which is another reason to execute a "durable power of attorney" selected by the principal.  Having a designated durable power of attorney is especially important for gay and lesbian couples, and unmarried heterosexual couples, because the law does not recognize priority of these relationships the way it does blood and marital bonds. The critical language to include is: “This durable power of attorney is not affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal except as provided in §709.08, Florida Statutes,” or similar words that show the principal’s intent that the authority conferred is exercisable notwithstanding the principal’s future incapacity.

Florida law requires that each power being granted be explicitly stated in the document.  The three most common categories of powers are: to make decisions and take actions regarding (1) real estate and real property, (2) use and management of finances, and (3) health care of the principal.  Some states will honor a general durable power of attorney -- "general" meaning that the agent can do just about anything in the shoes of the principal even if the document states those powers only in broad terms -- but not Florida.  Therefore, be sure that the document is all-inclusive (or is as inclusive as the principal feels comfortable) by setting forth all powers granted.  For example, to ensure that you will be permitted to buy or sell your loved ones stocks and bonds, explicitly include that power in the document.  If you are granting power to buy or sell or otherwise manage real estate property, it is best to include the legal description of the property(s) belonging to the principal.  If you wish to appoint an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf, include those powers.  Etc.

1 The exception is that a “proxy” under Florida Statutes, §765.401, can be appointed in the absence of advance directives, for the purpose of making health care decisions only.  


A health care surrogate (also known as "health care proxy") can make medical decisions on behalf of the person who assigned this power.  If, for example, you were having a medical procedure done that rendered you incompetent for 48 hours, the proxy could handle any health care issues that may arise while you are not of sound mind.  Having one person in charge -- the person of your wishes -- is very important, especially in families where there may be disagreement over how to handle medical care.

Even if your loved one has executed a durable power of attorney that grants the agent the power to make health care decisions, you may wish to also execute a health care surrogate because it is a very simple and short form easily presented to emergency medical personnel, physicians or other parties in an emergency situation.  However, to avoid confusion, the health care surrogate should be the same person who was named as an agent in the durable power of attorney, and the same substitute agent should be named in both documents. 

If you have one person in mind who would do the best job as an agent to handle real estate and financial affairs, but would not be a good choice for health care decision-making, or to enforce your living will, you can exclude the health care powers from the durable power of attorney document, and make a different person the health care surrogate and the agent named in your living will.

What if your loved one, now incapacitated, named two different people in her durable power of attorney and in her health care surrogate and the documents are therefore in conflict with respect to who shall make health care decisions on your loved one’s behalf?  The answer under the applicable law is that, if your loved one executed a health care surrogate, its terms will control over the durable power of attorney if the two documents are in conflict unless the durable power of attorney was executed later and expressly states otherwise. 


Declaration of Preneed Guardian can be done for adults and minors.  The purpose of this document is to avoid disputes over who shall be the guardian in the event that an adult needs a guardian, or a minor needs a guardian.  You can select a guardian of your person only, property only, or both.  You should name an alternate guardian along with your first choice.   Like a Will, it must be executed in the presence of two witnesses. 

  For adults, you may file the declaration with the clerk of the court in your county. If and when a Petition for Incapacity is filed, the clerk will produce the declaration and your selection of a guardian will be considered by the Court.  Unless the person you selected is declared unqualified by the Court, you choice should be honored.    For minors, the declaration must be filed with the clerk of court to be effective.

  If you do not execute a Declaration of Preneed Guardian and a Petition for Incapacity is filed for appointment of a guardian, then the Court will give preference to persons related by blood or marriage, regardless of whether that person would have been your choice. Having a declaration of preneed guardian will protect you in your time of need by allowing you to select a person who you trust to act in your best interest.

5.            LIVING WILL

A living will is known as an advance directive because people use it to inform others in advance what their wishes are with respect to medical care if they were ever designated terminally ill or were in a vegetative state (i.e. brain dead).  A living will should be specific and clear with respect to what medical treatment is wanted or unwanted under such circumstances of failing health.  It needs to be executed when the person to whom it will apply is competent. If your loved one is no longer competent to make decisions, this document is no longer an option.


      Obviously it is of no benefit to have these documents executed if they cannot be located.  The original Will, and the codicil(s), Memorandum for Disposition of your Tangible Personal Property and Letters of Instruction, if any, should be kept in a safe place accessible and known to family members.  There should be only one original; do not execute more than one original.  Make copies of the one original if you wish to provide copies to family members. A Durable Power of Attorney should be kept by the principal, and a copy should be given to the agent, the substitute agent, and financial planners, if any.  A health care proxy should be kept by the person to whom it applies, and a copy should be given to the proxy and substitute proxy. A living will should be kept by the person to whom it applies, and a copy should be given to the agent and the substitute agent.

Additionally, because a durable power of attorney, health care proxy, and living will all involve medical care decision-making, a copy should be given to all known healthcare providers who render care to you, and to all caretakers who may be present when an emergency situation arises which calls for these documents.  You should also keep in your wallet or purse a card or some small document to put with your driver's license stating that you have advance directives, and providing the names of the agents to contact and location of those documents. 


If your loved one needs assistance with paying bills, you may have decided to open a joint checking account.  This can work well as a convenience, but do not co-mingle your money with your loved ones' money in the same account.  This should not be done because in the event that your loved one should be able to qualify for public benefits, you will have difficulty showing that your loved one’s funds are limited if his or her money is mixed in with yours.  Make sure that only your loved one's funds are deposited into the account, and that only checks written on behalf of that loved one are written against the account.


  Hopefully this document has helped you and your loved ones to understand generally what these documents do for you and the importance of them.  These can be delicate matters, and should be approached with sensitivity, but they should not be put off.  One never knows when a tragedy can occur, and we should all seek to make difficult times more manageable.  

If you have any questions, or wish to obtain these documents for yourself and your loved ones, please do not hesitate to call me, Sheryl Hunter, at 813-835-8405.


Heed Advice Regarding Living Trust

May 6, 2000 in the Tampa Tribune

By: Robert J. Bruss syndicated columnist who is also a lawyer.

Q. I own four apartment buildings free and clear. They provide more than enough net income for me. But, at age 74, I am thinking of slowing down a bit. "Managing the managers", as you call it, is getting to be a pain.

My wife passed away about four years ago from cancer, and our only daughter died about 15 years ago in an auto accident. I have no close relatives to whom I wish to leave my estate.

Since I am in excellent health for my age, I would like the freedom to travel. My will provides that when I die, my assets will go to the university that I graduated from a zillion years ago.

However, a speaker at the Rotary Club I attend mentioned a "charitable remainder trust" could provide me with retirement income for the rest of my life and I wouldn't be tied down by my apartment buildings. How would this work?  - Robert G.

A. A charitable remainder trust sounds ideal for your situation.

Your university will handle the legal details, agreeing to pay you a lifetime income based on your age and the value of your apartment buildings and other assets conveyed to the university. Of course, the university will sell the apartment buildings since it doesn't want to be in the property management business. The university will invest the proceeds and pay you the agreed income for your lifetime.

There are many advantages for both parties. The university now receives whatever assets you wish to include in the charitable remainder trust, and you have the satisfaction of making a substantial gift to your alma mater.

Of course, there are no capital gains or estate taxes. A charitable remainder trust is a win-win for everyone, except Uncle Sam. 


If you wish to mail your gift please print this form and sent it to:     

Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 1618, Zephyrhills, FL 33539

Pledge to Support Women’s Peacepower Foundation, Inc.

Name:_______________________________________________________________ ________________

Address:____________________________________________________________ _________________

City/State/Zip:_____________________________________________________ ___________________

Phone:_______________________________________email:_________________ _________________

Women ’s Peacepower Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.

( ) Enclosed is my check to WPPF in the amount of:

___ $5000 ___ $2500 ___$1000 ___ $500 ___$250 _____$100 ___$50 ___ $25 ___ other

(  ) I wish my gift to be used ____ Locally ____ Nationally ____ Internationally only.

(   ) I wish my gift to be anonymous.

(  ) I am pledging $____________ payable by ___________________(month/year).

(  ) Please bill me ____ monthly ____ semi-annually ____ Annually

(  ) I’m including WPPF as a beneficiary of my ____ will ____insurance policy ____ 401K ____trust ____ stock.

(  ) I’m making this gift in honor/memory of:



City, State, Zip:___________________________________________________

When you make a gift to WPPF in someone’s name both you and s/he become donors and a gift card is sent.

Women’s Peacepower Foundation, Inc. .... "Working to bring peace to the everyday lives of  women and their families".


   If you wish to mail your gift please print this form and sent it to: Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1618, Zephyrhills, FL 33539  e-mail:


Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc.
 P.O. Box 1618, Zephyrhills, FL 33539  


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