Married Persons PDF Print E-mail

Family Advantage Plans

In addition to its enhanced plan offerings for married persons, The Will Shoppe offers a few more streamlined and less expensive plans which are principally designed for younger married couples with children.  Under these plans, a couple simply provide for each other and their children (as well as children of deceased children) and have more limited options in the event that their children do not survive them.  These plans do not include any health care or property powers of attorney or living will declarations.

Before selecting either of these plans, it is highly recommended that you review the Frequently Asked Questions pages on this website in order to determine whether they are appropriate for you.

It is also recommended that you review the other, enhanced plans for married couples, described below, which provide for additional planning opportunities and do include the preparation of health care and property powers of attorney and living will declarations, if desired.


Each Will would leave everything to each other or, if the other predeceases, then on to the children (the share of any deceased child passing on to such child's own children, if any).  The share of any child (or grandchild) under the age of 21 years would be held in a very simple trust for the child's benefit until the child reaches such age, when the remainder is distributed to him or her.  In the event that neither the spouse nor any child (or grandchild) survives, a choice can be made for distributions to parents or brothers and sisters.  The Wills, of course, would appoint or designate executors and, if appropriate, guardians of the person for minor children.


This plan is similar to Plan 1, except that there are more extensive trust provisions for children (or grandchildren), including trustee appointment provisions and elaborated trustee's powers.  These trusts would provide for a single, or multiple distributions to the beneficiaries at specified ages.

Enhanced Plans

The following estate plans are offered through The Will Shoppe for married couples, with or without descendants:


This plan is designed for clients who desire the simplest dispositive documents possible. It consists of short, simple Wills which separately dispose of tangible personal property (personal effects, furniture, other household items, automobiles, etc.) and the balance of the property which is held in the clients' names alone.

Each Will first leaves the property outright to the other spouse, if the other spouse survives.

Usually, if the clients have descendants, the property at both the clients' deaths would pass out to descendants. If the clients have no descendants, or if none survives them, the property would pass out to others, such as parents, siblings or descendants of siblings. The Will Shoppe reserves the right to seek an additional charge if the clients desire extensive specific gifts to individuals or organizations of tangible personal property or other property.

There are no trust provisions, except for a simple trust which withholds until age 21 the share of any beneficiary who may be under that age. The Trustee would be the beneficiary's parent or guardian in most cases.

The Wills, of course, name executors and, if appropriate, guardians of the person for any minor child.


This plan is similar to Plan 1, except that more extensive trust provisions (a "withholding trust") are included for any descendant or other person ("beneficiary") who is either under a certain age or incapacitated.

Should a beneficiary die before his trust is distributed to him, the trust provides for a distribution out to the beneficiary's descendants or other persons, whose interests may also be subject to the same trust provisions.

Specific Trustees, in whatever order, are named in the Wills.

If desired and appropriate, in each Will a single trust may be created for the clients' children until the youngest child reaches a certain age (such as 25) before what remains is distributed out in individual shares (possible subject to withholding trusts). The purpose of the single trust is to provide, out of a "common pot", for more needy (usually younger) children until a certain age is reached.  Such a trust also may encourage children to seek more advanced education, since the cost is not coming exclusively out of their separate shares.


This plan provides for the creation of a single fully revocable and amendable trust (a "joint trust") for the clients which broadly provides for management and their needs during their lifetimes, especially if they become incapacitated. At the death of the first to die, the trust simply continues on for the surviving spouse as his or her revocable trust. At the death of both spouses, the trust distributes out, and includes trust provisions, in a manner similar to Plan 2.  Besides management, another purpose of the trust is to avoid any need to probate to the extent (which is encouraged) that the clients' assets are transferred into the trust during their lifetimes.

Both clients are named as the initial Trustees and either can act on behalf of the Trust. Either spouse can alter, amend or revoke or withdraw property from the trust. The trust also names successor Trustees.

There still are Wills, "pour over" Wills, which simply leave to the trust any assets which, for whatever reason, were not previously transferred into the trust. If the trust is properly "funded" there should be no need to probate unless necessary simply in order to appoint any guardians named in the Wills for minor children.


This plan contemplates either the division of a couple’s property (usually relatively equally), or the allocation of their separate property, into two separate trusts, one for each spouse.

Each trust provides for both spouses during their joint lives, particularly in the event of incapacity, and the trust of the first to die, instead of leaving his or her trust property outright to the other spouse, establishes a trust for the surviving spouse for his or her remaining life. The ability of the surviving spouse to access the trust property can be made very broad (but always slightly restricted) or very restricted as the clients wish. At the death of the surviving spouse, the remaining trust property distributes out as the first spouse determines, usually out to descendants. The surviving spouse can be given a power (“power of appointment”) to alter the distribution to descendants, exercisable either during his or her lifetime or by Will.

This plan is often suitable for second marriage situations where each spouse wishes to control the ultimate distribution of his or her respective property. In first marriage situations, especially where a second marriage of the survivor is possible if not likely, this plan affords some assurance to the first spouse to die that at least some of the property will pass on to descendants or in some other desired direction.

Property placed into such a trust for the survivor by the first to die also likely will be protected against claims asserted against the survivor by creditors or otherwise. Also, because the surviving spouse’s interest is somewhat restricted, such property, at least under present federal and Illinois law, likely will remain out of the estate of the survivor for estate tax purposes, should that be a concern.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 11 November 2012 14:46 )