DO I NEED A JOINT WILL WHEN I’M MARRIED?

Do I need a will when i'm married
  • Joint/mutual wills are seldom drawn up nowadays
  • Joint/mutual wills create a number of difficulties due to inflexibility
  • ‘Mirror wills’ tend to be preferred

 

Firstly, it’s important to state that you DO BOTH NEED wills when married. The answer to the question posed in the title, is simply “no” this needn’t be a joint/mutual will.

A joint/mutual will is a single document, made by more than one person (usually 2 spouses) who wish to leave their assets to the same people. There are circumstances in which this may appear to be a good idea, for instance, if parties are both elderly and quite certain about who they wish to inherit their estate, they may feel it would make the execution of the estate more straight forward.

The main advantage (or disadvantage) of a joint/mutual will is that most contain a provision stating that the will cannot be changed after the death of the first spouse.  Depending on how you view your relationship, the advantages of a joint/mutual will might be:

  • They can be a convenient way to make sure that when you die your partner will be taken care of during their lifetime.
  • You are comparatively assured that your estate will pass to your children on your partners death if you die first.
  • You are comparatively assured also that if your partner remarries after your death it would not be possible for them to leave your joint estate to a new spouse or indeed their children.
  • You may feel that when you die your spouse may possibly be vulnerable to manipulation of their will, thereby disinheriting your children

 

 

The disadvantages of making a joint/mutual will are:

  • The restriction imposed on the surviving spouse could prove to make life very difficult for them after your death and there are other ways to protect your estate, to ensure that your children inherit and are not overlooked in the event of your spouse remarrying.
  • None of us know what the future holds or how long we are going to live. A surviving spouse may survive for a very long time and circumstances change.
  • It may be that as the remaining spouse ages they feel the need to downsize in terms of property wise a joint/mutual will might interfere with this, making life very difficult for the surviving spouse and indeed for children of the union, who may wish to care and accommodate the elderly parent.
  • It maybe that the surviving spouse would like to help an adult child with a house purchase or grandchildren with university costs. Another issue which might be impeded by the presence of a joint/mutual will.
  • The surviving spouse may wish to give an asset away, such as a piece of jewellery for example to a granddaughter on their wedding day.

 

On balance, the vast majority prefer not to have a joint/mutual will for the above reasons, favouring instead mirror wills (somewhat co-ordinated individual wills). If you wish to make sure you leave your estate to your loved ones, without the necessity of a restrictive joint/mutual will, we will be happy to advise you accordingly.

Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do whilst still living and it’s important to get it right and to have peace of mind once you’ve done it!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us now on 0121 202 4714 or visit www.confidencewills.co.uk, without obligation.

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO UPDATE MY WILL?

how often should I update my will
  • Any time your financial situation changes significantly.
  • When your family situation changes.
  • Every 5 years irrespective of personal circumstances.

 

The first thing to be aware of is that there is no expiration date on a Will.  If a Will has been validly made 10, 15, 30 or 50 years ago, it is still valid, unless it has been replaced or revoked at a later date.  The safest way to change a Will is to make a new one and destroy the old one. Remember that Probate courts generally do not accept copies of a Will. They only accept the original Will signed and dated and of course legally witnessed.

It is certainly wise to update or replace your Will on a regular basis and especially when your circumstances change. It is also important to review your Will periodically, maybe every five years, in case inheritance or tax laws change (as they do) or other changes take place in your life, that may be overlooked.

It is important to change your Will as and when your circumstances change,  for example:

  • When getting married or entering a civil partnership. If you are getting married and have children from a previous relationship and you wish to make sure your children are provided for, it is vital to update your Will, if you fail to do so, your new spouse will automatically inherit much if not all of your estate when you die and your children may be left out.
  • When getting separated or divorced.
  • When setting up home with a partner you are not married to, bearing in mind that your partner will not automatically inherit your estate.
  • When starting a new business or entering a business partnership and investing money into property or assets for that purpose. Your wishes need to be set out clearly legally and, in your will, to avoid business complications and to ensure provision for your loved ones.
  • If you invest in property with friends or family outside your immediate circle, your will should make clear your shared ownership of such property and to whom you wish to leave it.
  • If and when you have children and/or grandchildren
  • If your spouse, civil partner or partner die.
  • If a member of your family, e.g. an adult child unexpectedly becomes widowed or falls on hard times, you may wish to adjust your Will in order to provide more fully for them. Likewise, if they were to suffer an illness/accident that rendered them incapacitated or vulnerable.
  • If you should inherit or win or by some means come into a large sum of money, you may wish to adjust your will.

So, as you can see there are many reasons for reviewing your will.  It is important to reiterate that if you make a new will it is a probably a good idea to destroy the old one to make sure that when you die there is no confusion. Also advise the executor/s accordingly as to the change and where the will is to be stored. If you would like to discuss any of these matters or your personal situation further, we will be happy to help you without obligation.

 

Call Confidence Wills now for a free consultation on 0121 202 4714, or visit us as www.confidencewills.co.uk