Can a husband and wife have a joint Will?

Asked on July 28, 2015 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, in that a will is personal: each person must have his or her own will (if he or she wants a will, of course). This is because the will comes into effect when a person dies, so a "joint" will would have to be become effective when the first member of the couple passes, meaning it would not then have effect for the 2nd member of the couple.

However, nothing says that the husband and wife cannot have identical wills--wills which are the same in every respect, except that his leaves to her and hers leaves to him. Many attorneys (self included, for example) would charge a very reasonable "joint" fee for creating two wills that are identical, since so little extra work is involved for the second one.

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