Why Creating a Joint Will for Marriage May Not Be a Good Idea

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Estate Planning Attorney St. Peters, MO

There is perhaps no other life event that brings the same level bliss that getting married to the love of your life does. During this time, a couple may be making preparations for not only their wedding day, but for their future together too. Married couples may turn to an attorney for advice as to whether a joint will is in both of their best interests. Nowadays, joint wills are rarely used, as there quite a few serious drawbacks.

The Intention of a Joint Will

In general, the intention of a joint will for married couples is to make sure their spouse inherits everything after one of them passes on. Then, if there are shared children, they are to inherit the assets once both parents have become deceased. Spouses who sign a joint will often go into the agreement feeling confident that their current wishes and concerns will be addressed to matter what.

However, an attorney may strongly emphasize to clients that this joint will cannot ever be changed or revoked by one spouse after the other has passed on. It is imperative that both spouses understand exactly what this means for their future.

The Potential Problems

Because joint wills between two spouses are essentially legally binding contracts, they cannot be updated after one partner dies no matter what kind of life circumstances arise. The surviving spouse may encounter several problems with the joint will, particularly if they are blocked from responding in the way they would like to significant life milestones. Spouses who want to do supportive things for their family, may not be able to.

To carry this point further, an attorney can give you some examples of ways that the remaining spouse may start to regret entering a joint will:

  • The surviving spouse cannot give a child their inheritance early, in an effort to help with things like buying a home, having children, starting a business venture, paying off student loans, etc.
  • The surviving spouse cannot assist grandchildren with college-related expenses, such as buying books, paying for tuition, room and board, etc.
  • The surviving spouse who has a child that is irresponsible with money, is not permitted to add restrictions to how the inheritance funds can be used
  • The surviving spouse cannot sell the family home after their husband or wife’s death (which may prevent them from relocating to a smaller home, or having the funds needed to move into an assisted care facility)

Other Options

There are other ways that married couples can see to it that their spouse, children and family are set for life. Spouses do not have to use an irrevocable joint will in order to feel reassured that their wishes are going to be abided by after passing on. An estate planning attorney in St. Peters, MO from the Legacy Law Center can give spouses options depending on what is going to be in their best interest. Please call today for a free, no-obligation consultation.