- 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.