For many people, creating a will can be a difficult process. Obviously it is hard for anyone to think about their own eventual passing, and it is also often hard to make decisions about who will get what. One thing that can be even more difficult than creating your own will, however, is working with a spouse to create theirs. The reality is, however, that both you and your spouse should each have your own will, and it should be planned as soon as possible.
Some couples think that they can have one joint will together, but this is not a sound approach. Even if the majority of the information in your wills is nearly identical, you still need to each have your own. Read on to see why this is so important.
The chances are quite high that you will not pass away at the same time. If you have a joint will when one of you passes away, it can be much more difficult to work through executing the will for just the other party. In addition, once one person passes away, the other person needs to create their own will anyway so making a joint will today is really only delaying the process and making it more complicated.
Another problem is if your spouse passes away, you may run into complications when making your own will. This is because the wishes of your spouse in the previous will may still be binding. Keep in mind that you may live a very long time after the death of a spouse, and your life situation can change dramatically. You don’t want to be locked into a will that no longer makes sense.
Many couples today are not on their first marriage and they often have children from previous relationships. Each having your own wills can make it much easier for everyone involved when it is time to pass on assets to these children.
Joint wills often carry much less weight if they are challenged in the courts. In fact, some states don’t even recognize them, so if you end up moving to another state, a joint will may become invalid. Even in states that do permit a joint will, they are challenged much more often, which may result in your final wishes not being honored. At the very least, it will result in a lengthy (and costly) court battle that is fought among your loved ones.
While it may be difficult, the best thing to do is to speak with an estate planning attorney and get a will set up for you and your spouse as soon as possible. Please contact us today to learn more!