Estate Planning Attorney for Married Couples in Orland Park, Illinois
Serving Families and Individuals in Orland Park, Illinois and the Surrounding Areas
Married couples have special rights and responsibilities. If you had an estate plan created when you were single, then you must bring your estate plan up-to-code this lifestyle change. Married couples ought to think about joint tenancy, wills, trusts and incapacity planning.
Unfortunately, many married couples mistakenly believe that they can make personal, health care and financial decisions for one another should either spouse become legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness. Nothing could be further from reality!
Estate planning for married couples requires you to appoint your spouse in advance as the incapacity decision-maker. If you don’t do so ahead of time, he or she will not have legal authority to make even fundamental decisions for you (or affecting both of you).
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. This is true even for married couples. While it is likely that the judge will appoint your spouse in this case, the probate court process to accomplish this is expensive (it employs at least three attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record, and is a real hassle for your spouse.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your spouse and assets. In fact, depending on how you titled your premarital assets and how your beneficiary designations are arranged, you may disinherit your own spouse, forcing your spouse to sue your estate upon your death for these assets. This is surely less than ideal.
Our Orland Park estate planning law firm works with married couples often, helping them to avoid probate and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for their unique circumstances and objectives. We even help married couples coordinate the beneficiary designations on their life insurance and retirement plans with their estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.