Joint Wills

A joint will is a document which contains the wills of 2 persons, contained in one will as a joint will for the sake of convenience. Such will is to be considered as the will of both the first dying and the will of the survivor. A joint will is common amongst married persons.

MASSING AND ADIATION

Massing is said to have been effected when the property of two people are consolidated and bequeathed to a third person with a benefit accruing to the survivor upon the death of the first dying with the survivor adiating/ accepting the terms of the will.

ADVANTAGES OF A JOINT WILL

  • The surviving spouse cannot unilaterally amend the contents of the will in relation to the distribution of assets, thereby still giving effect to the original intention of the testators.

This inevitably results in protecting the entitlement of the original heirs in terms of the joint will. This may be better understood with the illustration of an example: In the event of the surviving spouse remarrying, s/he may wish to amend the will such that the current spouse is heir to his/her estate, thereby replacing the original heirs in terms of the joint will.

DISADVANTAGES OF A JOINT WILL

  • Circumstances post the death of the spouse, may have drastically changed and the surviving spouse may no longer wish to bequeath the estate to the nominated heir in the joint will. The surviving spouse is not at liberty to change the will should s/he wish to do so.