Creating a Will in Pennsylvania: Joint Wills and Mutual Wills

When creating a will, you have several options. A joint will is a single document that is executed by more than one individual, typically a married couple, and upon admission to probate, it treats the distribution of property as separate.

Mutual wills, which are similar to and often confused with joint wills, are 2 separate documents that are mutually binding such that after the first death, the surviving party is limited to what was previously agreed upon with the decedent.  

Pennsylvania estate planning advisors and attorneys agree that joint and mutual wills are usually not in a married couple’s best interest.

Although your and your spouse’s will may end up looking very similar to one another, separate wills allow each individual to address issues such as:

  • ex-spouses;
  • children from previous relationships; and
  • any property obtained in a previous marriage.

Furthermore, a joint or mutual will might tie up property for years, keeping it beyond the reach and outside the use of the surviving spouse.

Creating a Will? A Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

Discuss the pros and cons of a joint or mutual will with an estate lawyer before you decide to implement one. Call our offices to see what an estate planning attorney from the law offices of Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees can do for you (610) 933-8069.


David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author
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