Married couple looking at paperwork

Most Common Estate Planning Strategies for Married Couples

Making the choice to plan for the future as a married couple is an important one. Many couples assume it can be an extremely complicated ordeal, but it doesn’t need to be. Aside from pursuing the obvious revocable living trust or a last will and testament, there are a number of useful strategies you can take advantage of.

Marital Deductions

Marital deductions allow you to avoid all taxes on your estate if you leave everything to your spouse when you pass away. There is no limit to the marital deduction, and it will be given to your estate for the amount that your spouse inherits from you. The intention of the deduction is to ensure your spouse is able to maintain their current lifestyle and is an estate planning tool utilized by many married couples.

Bypass Trusts

Bypass trusts are a type of irrevocable trust where the trustor places their property into the trust and pay trust income to the trustor’s spouse when they pass away. The reason it is called a bypass trust is that the property placed within it bypasses the spouse’s estate. They negate estate taxes by leaving the maximum tax-free amount to the trust, while the rest of the estate goes to your spouse.

This trust makes sure your spouse remains provided for, as well as benefits your children or other chosen beneficiaries.

Name a Guardian for Your Dependents

If you were to pass away, your children’s custody will stay with your surviving spouse. However, if you and your spouse were both to pass away unexpectedly, naming a guardian for your children can help ensure your children are properly taken care of.

You are also able to name a guardian as the executor of your trust so they are able to manage your estate until your children reach adulthood.

Shared Property

Shared property is the property that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage and both hold ownership over. Examples of this type of property include:

  • Real estate
  • Cars
  • Any gifts you both received

One thing to keep in mind is that you are unable to transfer shared property in your estate to anyone other than your spouse. If you wish your children to inherit certain portions of your property, you can establish a revocable living trust to not only avoid probate but make sure that receive that property when both you and your spouse pass away.

Contact Our Laguna Woods Estate Planning Team Today

We understand that the estate planning process can seem like a daunting task. At Law Offices of Steven Giammichele, we are dedicated to helping you make sure the process for you and your spouse is as smooth and efficient as possible.

If you are looking to start planning your estate, but are unsure of where to start, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (949) 303-7811 to schedule your consultation today!