What is a Joint Will and How Does It Work?

Are you and your spouse considering a joint will? Joint wills are a great option if you and your partner are looking for financial stability. After learning about joint wills, it may help you decide if this is the right option for you and your partner.What is a Joint Will and How Does It Work?

What is a joint will?

Instead of each spouse having their own separate will, a joint will is one legal document put into place by two (or more) people. Joint wills merge individual wills into a single, combined last will and testament.

Most joint wills are written so that when one spouse passes away, their portion of the estate passes to the other spouse. Then after the surviving spouse passes away, the entire estate goes to their children.

How do joint wills work?

Think of joint wills as a contract. Once you create one, you or your partner can’t change or revoke a joint will without permission from the other. This is why joint wills may seem like a good option based on how well you and your partner work together. This option prevents the surviving partner from changing their minds about what to do with their property after the first partner passes away. Even if the surviving partner remarries, has more children, or needs to sell property to pay bills, the joint will still remain intact.

Just like with other wills, the joint will needs to go through probate after both spouses have passed away and before the estate passes on to the beneficiaries. Probate is a process where a state court oversees the transfer of assets. When there is a will, the court will use it as a starting point to determine what assets should go to which beneficiaries.

Related Article: What is the Probate Process if You Die Without A Will or Trust?

Have more questions regarding joint wills?

Marcia L. Campbell, CPA is committed to helping each client plan for the personal and financial decisions that need to be made for the future. Marcia’s team has a genuine interest in your well-being and a well-established list of services to help guide you through this process.

If you need help, please contact us by filling out our Contact Form or by giving our office a call at +1(951)686-3608.

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