Joint Wills in Texas: Pros & Cons for Married Couples

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When two people join each other’s lives “until death do us part,” it may seem like a foregone conclusion that what’s one spouse’s is the other and vice versa. When planning estates and each spouse’s last will, they may want to leave everything to one another. If this is the case, they may create a joint will.

However, while there is also the assumption that creating a joint will is more efficient and less expensive in Texas, there are some issues regarding joint wills that both spouses should know.

What is a Joint Will in Texas?

A joint will is a legal document combining two people’s bequests into a single last will and testament. Married couples typically make this decision because they wish their final wishes to be the same.

In most cases, a joint will includes terms that, at the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse will inherit everything. Then, upon the surviving spouse’s death, the remaining property is distributed to the couple’s surviving children.

What Are the Advantages of a Joint Will in Texas?

  • A joint will can assure that your surviving spouse isn’t able to leave the property to someone of whom you did not approve if that is a concern.
  • A joint will can provide financial security for their spouse, as they will know exactly what assets the spouse will eventually receive.
  • A joint will ensures that, upon both spouses’ passing, the children receive everything the parents choose to pass on.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Joint Will in Texas?

  • A joint will typically includes terms dictating its irrevocability. This means that, without your spouse’s (who has presumably passed away) permission, you cannot change the terms of the will.
  • The surviving spouse may be unable to;
  • Assist grandchildren in paying college expenses
  • Sell or gift assets in the will
  • Add monetary restrictions for fiscally irresponsible children
  • Gift a portion of a child’s inheritance in response to a major life event
  • Downsize or sell the house to afford assisted living
  • Joint wills are not legal in every state, so moving from Texas may be a hassle if a joint will is involved.

Should My Spouse and I Get a Joint Will in Texas?

Everyone has different financial expectations for their assets, so it is difficult to answer considering only sweeping generalizations. Joint wills are heavily dissuaded, but it may be the right choice for you and your spouse. To consult with an experienced estate planning professional regarding your and your spouse’s final wishes, call (254) 457-5083 and speak with an attorney at Rainey & Rainey, Attorneys at Law, LP.

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