Should married spouses share a will or have separate ones?
Many married couples do everything together, even creating an estate plan or a will. Since they share so much of their lives, it may seem logical to make a joint will.
Sharing a final will might not seem like a problem, but it is generally better for everyone to have their own, including married spouses. Here are three reasons why.
Challenging to change after a death
When a person dies, the will they leave behind becomes locked in place, even if it involves another testator. That means it will be difficult for the surviving spouse to update the will, which is typically necessary after losing a family member. Updating your final wishes is much easier when you have your own provisions in place.
Children from other relationships
It is not uncommon for modern spouses to have kids from previous marriages or relationships. Of course, you must ensure they are provided for along with any kids you share with your current spouse. A separate will may help to ensure all your children receive a proper inheritance per your wishes.
Preserves spousal privacy
As you may know, wills must pass through a California probate court after a testator dies, basically becoming a matter of public record. That means the surviving spouse could have their sensitive financial information open for anyone to see. Having separate wills eliminates this problem.
Estate planning may seem more tedious than difficult, but many find legal support extremely beneficial. For example, it can help to ensure your other financial protections (life insurance, retirement accounts, etc.) do not contradict the provisions outlined in your will.