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Married couples sometimes use joint wills

You and your spouse can certainly write your own wills and do your own estate planning if you would like. However, remember that you also have the option to use a joint will.

Technically, a joint will is just one that two or more people use together. This means that it could be used outside of marriage, perhaps by people in a long-term relationship. That said, it is most common to see married couples use these wills when addressing their estate planning, often after they have children together.

Generally, a joint will makes provisions for what happens if both people pass away at the same time, such as in a plane crash on vacation. If one person passes away and the other survives, the person who is still alive then gets the entire estate. When that second spouse also passes away, which could happen years or decades later, the estate then goes to their beneficiaries. Most often, they just pick their heirs and leave everything in the will to their children.

The advantage here is that a joint will is simple and gives both parties the peace of mind of knowing that their spouse will keep everything should they die unexpectedly. Many times, married couples have the same desires for what happens to their estate anyway, so it makes sense to do their planning together, and it can streamline the process.

Of course, though, joint wills are not for everyone. They're just one more option to consider. Make sure you know about all of your options as you do your estate planning.

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