Why Married Couples Should Have Their Own Wills

The foundation of any good Estate Plan is a strong Will. Estate Planning is the process of working with an attorney to create a legally-binding plan for what will happen to your belongings and property (known as your estate) and your remaining money (known as your assets) after you pass away. While Estate Planning can take many forms, a Will allows you to dictate your estate and asset wishes in a streamlined fashion.

In a marriage, most things are done together: bank accounts get combined, grocery lists and laundry baskets are shared, TV shows get binged at the same time. It is technically possible to accomplish your Estate Planning together too. In the state of Florida, a married couple can create a “Mutual Will” mirroring the exact same wishes to their own individual Wills. This isn’t exactly the best idea.

Your Estate Plan is something very personal to you alone. It is made to explain your wishes for your future, so it should reflect the specific lifestyle of your present. While many things are shared in a marriage, your Will – especially as it relates to your assets, your extended family, and your personal belongings – should be tailored exclusively to you.

There are logistical concerns to consider as well. If one spouse passes away before the other – which tends to be the case – the Will would become locked. The living spouse would be unable to make any changes to it for the rest of their lifetime. What’s more, the distribution of assets would begin while one spouse was still alive, which can be awkward or emotionally difficult. This is one of the main reasons why every adult should have their own individual Will.

If you have any children from a previous relationship, that’s even more reason to create your own Will. Blended families should be protected with Estate Plans, since they may not be recognized in probate court without one.

The way to avoid this is to include a “Non-Mutual” clause in your own individual Will. The “Non-Mutual” clause should expressly state that the surviving spouse can modify or revoke their own Will despite any interest received. This will indicate that your wishes are your own and should not be copied onto or from your spouse’s. All married individuals should include this in their Estate Plan.

If you are ready to start your Estate Planning journey, there’s no better time to start than right now. To create a Will that fits your needs, contact Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio today! We believe in helping you navigate uncharted waters.

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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