Estate planning for married people focuses on making it simple for the surviving spouse.
As you might expect, your spouse will be named to manage your assets if you cannot. But you’ll also need to designate someone else in the event your spouse is unable.
The instructions in your Living Trust will make your assets available to your spouse for all expenses. Your instructions will also say who is to benefit from your assets if your spouse doesn’t use them completely, including any children you may have. Your Trust can also make cash gifts to other people and charities if you wish.
Your Last Will is meant to make sure all your assets are eventually governed by the rules of your Trust. If you have young children, you’ll name guardians for them in your Last Will.
In your Statutory Power of Attorney, you’ll authorize your spouse to deal with assets that can’t be transferred directly into your trust, such as retirement plans. You’ll also identify someone else to take this job if your spouse is unable.
Finally, in your Advance Health Care Directive, you’ll identify the people who will make health care decisions if you can’t, and you’ll give them instructions about the types of medical treatments you want – or do not want. Your spouse will be named for this, but you’ll also identify someone else to act if your spouse can’t.
You can do this. Make a plan.