Estate Planning for Married Couples

Estate planning for married couples involves issues different from those who are single.  Although you may share everything with your spouse, you are not entitled to make personal, medical, and financial decisions for each other.  Often married couples fail to realize this until it is too late.

You see, when one spouse becomes incapacitated, someone needs to step in to make decisions for them. The well spouse does not automatically have that power. Without proper estate planning, that spouse may face the delay and expense of a court proceeding.

The most frustrating part?

This situation could have been avoided with complete and up-to-date estate planning.

When a Will Is Not Enough

A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. But a Will only takes effect after you pass away. It does not give anyone authority to act for you if you are incapacitated or disabled.

However, with your durable power of attorney and advance health care directive, you have the chance to name a trusted person to make decisions for you if necessary. Married couples typically name each other as agent. So, if you are incapacitated, your spouse can quickly and smoothly take the wheel.

Without these documents, your spouse may land in court asking to be appointed guardian and conservator. Going to court incurs expenses that could have been avoided. While the court case is pending, decisions and much-needed actions go undone.  These are just the basics of estate planning for married couples.  There are other things to consider such as how to pay for long term care, whether you want your famiily to be able to avoid the probate process when you dies and how to handle your IRA’s when you are gone.

Estate planning can protect everything you have for everyone you love.

Fortunately, you can avoid the hassle of a guardianship or conservatorship by preparing an estate plan that meets your needs. At Miller Estate and Elder Law, we make it our business to help marriedcouples like make thoughtful, informed decisions about their estate planning.

To learn more, attend one of our FREE estate planning workshops. Please call 256-472-1900 to register for a workshop or to schedule an initial consultation. You may also request an appointment through our website. We have offices in Anniston and Birmingham, but also serve clients in Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.

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Miller Estate and Elder Law


Anniston Office

818 Leighton Ave.
Anniston, AL 36207

Birmingham Office

2100 Southbridge Parkway; Suite 650
Birmingham, AL 35209


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