Joint Wills & Mutual Wills

Thus far all discussion has concerned wills with only one testator and provisions applicable to only the one testator’s plan for disposition of property. This is the most common approach to drafting a will. However, it is not the only available option for drafting a will. Here are two additional methods for drafting a will that could perhaps prove beneficial to some looking to plan their estate:

Joint will: a joint will involves two or more testators who draft a single will intended to be mutually applicable to both testators. A     joint will is executed similarly to a simple will. When one testator passes the will is executed as his/her will, and when subsequent testators pass the joint will is also executed as his/her will.

Mutual Will: mutual wills involve two or more testators whose wills have reciprocal provisions. Mutual wills are generally utilized by spouses to seek to ensure that their property is disposed of according to their mutual approbation. Mutual wills are not binding on each other, but are sometimes accompanied by a contractual agreement that the surviving spouse will not alter his/her will upon the passing of the first spouse.


Photo by: Ken Mayer