What Is A Virginia Joint Will?

A Virginia Joint Will, is a type of Virginia last will and testament which allows a married couple in Virginia to provide for the distribution of their assets through a single testamentary instrument. Often a Virginia joint will is also referred to as a “ Virginiamutual will or Virginia mutual last will and testament.

What Is a Virginia Joint Last Will?

A Virginia joint will, typically allows two people (most often married a married couple, although the people don’t have to be married) to leave all of their assets to the other person and then agree on how those assets should be distributed when the other person dies in Virginia probate.

A common example where this document is used is among married couples where the couple might decide to leave everything to the surviving spouse upon the death of the first spouse; then, upon the death of the surviving spouse, all of the couple’s assets would pass directly to the couple’s children through the Virginia probate process. Thus a Virginia joint will can help to ensure that the surviving spouse is provided for as well as to make sure that the children of the marriage are protected.

Fundamentally the main goal of using a Virginia joint last will is to make sure that the wishes of both people are followed upon their deaths. The surviving spouse is obligated to follow the wishes expressed in the Virginia joint will as the terms of the will can only be modified with the written consent of both people.

What Are The Advantages of Using a Virginia Joint Last Will?

The main advantage of this document is the protection it affords the couple because each person knows exactly what will happen to their assets when they pass. If a person is concerned that their spouse will remarry after their death and then leave all their assets to the new spouse, cutting out their children,  a joint will could prohibit that from happening.

What Are The Disadvantages of Using a Virginia Joint Last Will?

The main disadvantage of a Virginia joint will is a lack of control over the disposition of the estate after the death of the first spouse. Specifically, in situations where circumstances have changed after the death of the first spouse, the surviving spouse might be hamstrung and otherwise would still be obliged to follow the terms of the Virginia joint will. Thus, a Virginia joint will might create the unintended consequence of tying up the couple’s assets for years until the second spouse dies, even if the surviving spouse wished to sell the property or give it to their children sooner because their wishes are different than what they agreed to in the joint will.  

Is Virginia Joint Will A Good Idea?

At SimplyWilled.com we believe Virginia joint wills should be avoided. Instead we believe that each person should have their own personalized Virginialast will and testament, which expresses that person’s own wishes for the distribution of their assets. We believe that every person is an individual, and as individual each person should be free to direct who administers their estate and how that administration is conducted.

Finally, at SimplyWilled.com we believe that the best estate planning is accomplished when an individual is free to make their own choices and has the flexibility to modify or amend their estate plans as circumstances dictate at the time. Using SimplyWilled.com married couples are encouraged to use our Virginia married will package to plan their estates. Our Virginia Married Will Package includes a Virginia Last Will and Testament, Virginia Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Virginia Financial Power of attorney, and a Virginia living will, for each spouse. Using Simplywilled.com each spouse can go through their own personalized estate-planning interview, they can answer the questions as they wish, and then can produce customized estate planning documents that are custom tailored to each spouse’s goals and objectives. To learn more about estate planning, check out our blog.