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Joint Will and Testament Questions

Individuals contemplating creating a joint will or are dealing with the execution of a joint will may have questions throughout the whole process. Uncertainties of how a joint will is executed if one of the issuers had remarried or if probate is necessary for a joint will often lead to questions like the ones answered below.

My present wife and I have children by our previous marriages. I have a joint will with my first wife. My present wife has her own will. How does my joint will from my first marriage affect my current wife?

The joint will that you held with your first wife during your first marriage will end once you are divorced. In Kansas once you get divorced and neither husband nor wife changes the will, everything in the joint will that would contain the other (wife, husband) gets treated as if one has predeceased the other.

Dad pre-deceased Mom with a joint will naming children as devisees with most of estate held as joint tenants, but some are stock certificates and in his name only. Now mom has passed. What is the proper procedure for clearing dad's estate with or without a formal probate in California?

Formal probate will be necessary because there is real estate. Without the real estate the will would have been subject to probate. If the total worth of the estate is $100,000 or less then the executor could use what is called the small estate affidavit to transfer the property without the need of probate.

Any property that doesn’t transfer per the joint tenancy would remain in your dad’s estate. Since you dad predeceased your mom anything that she would have gotten from the joint tenancy will now be in her estate. So anything (if $100,000 or less) from your dad’s estate that did not pass over to your mom’s estate you could use the affidavit to transfer it to your mom’s estate. Your mom’s estate will then be subject to probate and given out according to the joint will’s instructions.

My husband and I have a joint will which was drawn up in Illinois. I have since inherited approx. 2 million dollars that I want to leave totally to our three children. I want to do this privately. We live in Ohio now. Can I do this privately or does it somehow work back to the joint will?

Even though you have a joint will with your husband you can delegate your inheritance as you wish and separately from the joint will. An option to consider would be a revocable trust. Set one up and name your three children as the beneficiaries. A revocable trust is kept separate from assets that are held jointly with your spouse. Trusts are also private.

Does an individual have to pay again to have changes made to their joint will regarding the beneficiaries?

Your entire joint will does not have to be redone. Instead you can have an amendment to your joint will. This is called a codicil. A codicil is completed in the same way that a will is executed. It will then be attached to your joint will. Only the sections you want changed will be changed the remaining sections will go unchanged.

My parents made out a joint will in 1972 and shortly after my father died. They owned a house in joint tenancy. Mom made a will in 2001 to include grandchildren. This will divided the house into 6ths. What will is the court system to go by the 1972 joint will or the 2001 will for this property.

When your dad died the house they owned in joint tenancy would have went to your mother as the sole owner. When your mother drafted her will later after your father passed, it would in most cases revoke any wills that were set out previously. Your mom’s will would then delegate what happens to the house. If she only lists in her will that the grandchildren will split the house then only the grandchildren and not any other listed from the joint will would inherit the house. If however, your mother did not revoke any previous wills within the language of her current will, then the ownership would pass to the children listed in the joint will and the grandchildren of the current will.

Obtaining current information and having a clear understanding of a joint will can help when dealing with questions regarding joint wills. Experts can help answer questions about how a joint will might affect a current spouse or if you can later add to a joint will. Get the answers fast and affordably by asking an Expert.
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