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Business 2 Business column: understanding mutual wills

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Generally, a will is done reflecting the wishes of just one person.

It is possible, however, that two people prepare ‘mutual wills’ – that is, wills that contain agreements.

Mutual wills are sometimes used where spouses have children to earlier relationships and they are concerned about the survivor either remarrying or ‘disinheriting’ certain family members.

The key feature of mutual wills is that they can only be changed with the agreement of the other party.

If one party dies, the survivor is bound by the terms of the mutual wills – forever. The surviving spouse cannot revoke or change their will.

Before entering into mutual wills, both parties need to give careful consideration to a range of factors.

For example, what use can the surviving spouse make of the property they have received; what if the surviving spouse lives on for many years; and what if the surviving spouse remarries and has other children?

Although mutual wills provide a degree of certainty, this comes through their inflexibility.

Whether a mutual will is suitable for you very much depends on your personal circumstances.

They are certainly not for everyone.

Trent Wakerley, Director, Kruger Law, Level 3, Ocean Central, Ocean Street, Maroochydore, 5443 9600, krugerlaw.com.au

This column is part of our Business 2 Business (B2B) series featuring industry leaders sharing their expertise. For more great articles, SUBSCRIBE to our FREE news feed, direct to your inbox daily. All you need to do is enter your name and email below.

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