‘My husband and I signed a joint will without legal advice. Should we worry?’

Aug 03, 2019
Is it a gamble to combine two wills into one, without taking legal advice? Money Club expert Brian Herd cautions against it due to the legal issues it can create. Source: Getty.

A. My husband and I made a joint will signed by two witnesses without having to see any legal professionals. Will this have a legal standing when one or both of us die?

Q. I assume by referring to a ‘joint will’ you mean that you and your husband signed one document i.e. a will, intending it to apply to both of you. In other words, you combined your wills into one document. While this is possible, it is also rare and fraught with ‘issues’. Some of these include the fact that while you may make the will together, most couples don’t die together.

Many couples have separate assets which are hard to deal with in a joint will, not to mention that you usually can’t change a joint will without the consent of the other joint will maker. Given you also did the document without legal advice, it may be false economy on your part because in doing so, it’s possible you have created a ‘lawyer’s picnic’ for later on.

My strong suggestion is you get a good lawyer to review what you’ve done, as, cost/benefit wise it may well be worth the expense.

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s money experts, email it to [email protected].

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.

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