Allison Harrison
July 29, 2022

Do Married Couples Need One Will or Two?

Why Married Couples Need Separate Wills: Understanding the Importance

A common question that surfaces in estate planning discussions is: "If we're married, do we just need one will between us?" The answer is a resounding no, and here's why:

Individual Needs and Circumstances

Firstly, the concept of joint wills, though seemingly convenient, is not advisable. One significant reason is the irrevocability issue should one spouse pass away before the other. In such cases, the surviving spouse is left unable to modify the will, which can be problematic, especially if there's a long interval between the deaths.

Moreover, individual circumstances often necessitate separate wills. For instance, there might be children from previous relationships, and each spouse may have different wishes regarding the inheritance for these children versus those from the current marriage. Separate wills allow each partner to address these unique family dynamics clearly and fairly.

Personal Items and Heirlooms

Another crucial aspect involves family heirlooms and personal belongings. Consider the sentimental value of items like a great-grandfather's train conductor watch or a grandmother's cherished chip dip bowl used every Thanksgiving. While these may not hold significant monetary value, their emotional significance can be immense within a family. However, their importance might not be universally recognized by both spouses and their respective families. By creating individual wills, each spouse can ensure these personal items go to the intended family members or friends, honoring personal wishes and family traditions.