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Planning for Married Couple

Estate planning for married people focuses on making it as easy as possible for the surviving spouse.

First, your spouse will be named to manage your assets if you cannot.  Alternative designations will be named in the event your spouse cannot manage your assets.  Such alternatives are generally your siblings, parents, close relatives, professional advisors, and/or close friends.  These decisions and instructions will be incorporated into your Living Trust.  Our Chicago estate planning attorneys can offer you guidance on making these decisions.

Second, your assets are made available to your spouse for expenses. You will need to decide who is to benefit from your assets if your spouse does not use them completely; most often this is your children if you have any.  Your Living Trust can also designate cash gifts to charities or other people if desired.

These decisions and instructions will be incorporated into your Living Trust. Your Last Will creates instructions so that all your assets are eventually governed by the rules of your Trust. If you have children under 18, you’ll name guardians for them in your Last Will.

Third, in your Illinois Power of Attorney for Property, you will authorize generally the same people as above to transfer property not then in your Trust, such as retirement plans.  You will need to name alternatives in the event your spouse is unable to make such decisions.

Finally, in your Illinois Advance Health Care Directives, you will appoint the people who will make health care decisions for you if you are unable.  You will also give them instructions on what type of medical treatment do or don’t want.  You will need to name alternatives in the event your spouse is unable to make such decisions.