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Changing a joint Will

(57 Posts)
Cathy04 Tue 18-Apr-17 13:37:16

My DH and I have a joint will made in the early '90s. I had children from a previous marriage who lived with us and an older daughter who lived with her BF.My ex-husband was on the scene, causing trouble but we rose above it.

Apart from leaving everything to each other it said that should we both go together or within one month of each other our property was to be left to a close relative of my husband. Ditto savings and pets. My personal possessions, which I took to include jewelry was to go to my daughter.

Fast forward. My husband has a chronic condition which thanks to the wonderful NHS is manageable. I have been diagnosed with a life limiting condition which is incurable.

We have discussed changing the will but nothing seems to get done. I would like the 'children' to benefit, We are close to them all,not all in distance but they are all ready and willing to help whenever called upon. The person who is the beneficiary of the will although a close relative of DH is very well off. We see once every few years. We get on but are not close IYSWIM.

Our property is in joint names. All savings are joint except for Premium Bonds which are in my name.

I would like to know if it is possible to leave my half to my children. I do not expect to outlive my husband so obviously he would have a lifetime interest in the property. Could I leave my half of the savings and my PBs to the children? I would need to make a separate will in my own right.

I have tried to discuss my feelings but he just says things like 'I don't care what happens when I'm dead' The other thing is I would like my remains dealt with in a certain way. I have mentioned this but his attitude is that when you're dead it doesn't matter what happens. I would like to have my wishes written down.

I would welcome any comments.

Elegran Tue 18-Apr-17 13:47:16

I'd say that you need to consult someone about the legal aspects here - I believe you can get a free short first appointment with a lawyer. Then you will know how to proceed. I have a feeling (but I could be wrong) that any subsequent will that you make will overwrite the previous one, but I don't know what impact that would have on his half of your joint will.

As far as your husband is concerned, could you perhaps say to him that as he doesn't care what happens to himself, you assume he doesn't care what arrangements you make for yourself? A codicil or addition to the original will might be possible, to express your wishes about what happens to your remains. Is he the executor, or is that a third person?

Hilltopgran Tue 18-Apr-17 14:33:31

Athough it is difficult topic to address, I think you are right to revisit your will, the situation has changed and you need to see a solicitor and get your wishes properly recorded. Leaving your half to your children would be a very normal thing to do, It is also possible to leave a letter with your will if you want to explain or make your wishes plain.
If it is not important to your husband, then go head without him and make sure your own share is divided as you wish and your children are properly remembered.

sunseeker Tue 18-Apr-17 14:40:12

When you say you have joint Wills, I am assuming you have "mirror" Wills, meaning you each signed a separate Will but it basically had the same provisions in each.

You can make a new Will, without your husband changing his. You could even write it yourself if is fairly straightforward (although I personally wouldn't recommend it), as long as you get two independent people to witness your signature, they must both see you sign and see each other sign. It shouldn't cost too much to have a Solicitor to draw up a simple Will and it would give you peace of mind.

Elegran Tue 18-Apr-17 16:58:33

Apparently joint wills and mirror wills are not the same thing. A joint will is one shared document and "The provisions in the will aren't able to be changed without consent from both parties."

sunseeker Tue 18-Apr-17 17:53:54

In over 25 years working in the legal field I have never heard of a joint Will being used, which is why I assumed the OP was referring to mirror Wills. A joint Will or mutual Will can cause many problems, it can only be changed by both parties so a surviving spouse would not be able to change the Will to allow for a change in circumstances. If the OP does indeed have a joint or mutual Will my advice would be to go to a solicitor as soon as possible and get it sorted.

Cathy04 Tue 18-Apr-17 18:12:09

Thank you all for your responses.

Firstly I am going to try to explain how I feel to my DH. It is not about the money, more recognition of all they do for us. Also we now have GC and I would like to leave a small piece of jewelry to each of them. I am more of a 'bottom line' person whereas he is very much what will be will be/go with the flow.Opposites attract.

Sunseeker: TBH I haven't seen the Will for years, but from memory I am sure there were two copies, both identical but in different names. If that is so then they would be mirror wills from what you say.

Now just have to find the key to the desk hmm

Grannyben Tue 18-Apr-17 20:18:10

I m afraid i cant give advice regarding the legal aspects but, in relation to your wishes for what happens when you 'depart', i know that you can discuss your arrangements with the funeral director whilst you are still alive and kicking. Then you could advise your husband and children what you have done. I actually went online to look at the prices charged by our local undertaker's. Only one had them listed so I chose him and informed my dd's who i wanted to go with (contact details included - i don't want them having to Google if they are upset,) and i have listed the exact arrangements and services i would like. They know exactly where to find the instructions when the time arrives

Starlady Wed 19-Apr-17 03:08:11

The next time dh says he "doesn't care" about what happens when he's dead, tell him you DO care about what happens when you die. If he argues that it "doesn't matter," tell him that it matters TO YOU. He needs to understand that HIS opinion ISN'T the final word on the issue. In fact, he needs to see that where YOUR remains, etc. are concerned, YOUR wishes come first.

Meanwhile, I'm deeply sorry about your respective illnesses, especially yours, for obvious reasons. (((Hugs)))

Flossieturner Wed 19-Apr-17 07:53:23

I have just made a Will with Marlow Wills. They were so knowledgeable and helpful. Everything was done over the phone and we were able to explain our requirements and receive advice before we had to pay. We only paid once we had seen the Will.

travelsafar Wed 19-Apr-17 07:59:42

Get to a solicitor right away or if unable to get there alone, arrange to be taken out by one of your children for a few hours and go then, it is so important.

MawBroon Wed 19-Apr-17 08:03:46

At a bit of a tangent, because I can suggest no better than the advice to see a solicitor, but regarding jewellery, personal bequests to your children/grandchildren, why not choose (or let them choose) pieces to have NOW? Similarly with financial gifts? I know the 7 year rule applies regarding Inheritance Tax, but would it not give you more pleasure to give them something now rather than leaving it for after you are gone?
Regarding the will, of course your circumstances have changed since the early 90's so updating/altering your will(s) makes eminent sense. Do set things in motion somthat you have peace of mind, it is clearly troubling you flowers

Jayanna9040 Wed 19-Apr-17 09:32:37

Yes, see a solicitor. This is a bit complicated but you can revoke a joint will without the consent of the other party and make a new one. I hope it doesn't cause friction between you because he will need to know that you have done this.

Caroline123 Wed 19-Apr-17 09:47:44

It can be done. If the property is transferred with the land registry you and your husband could be tenants in law or something like that. Your husband has to sign the form agreeing to that happening,then he can live in the house until his demise and then your half goes to your children.
A solicitor can advise you.
You can make a new will at any time,which supersedes the old will.just make sure the children know where it is.
You can also pre pay and leave instructions for your funeral and any remains.Both my parents did this and it saved me a lot of heartache knowing it was how they wanted it.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 19-Apr-17 09:59:52

What is a 'joint' will please. I had always thought each will was separate. I would advise a visit to a solicitor - as others have said possibly the free first one that many offer - as quickly as possible. No one can stop you leaving your assets how you want to and you do not appear to be wanting to do anything unusual.

Please let us know how you get on.

Jalima1108 Wed 19-Apr-17 10:10:06

I had not heard of a joint will, only mirror wills.
Do check carefully how you own your house, joint tenancy is not that usual.

It would be advisable to see a good solicitor as soon as possible as, if your husband is happy with how your wills are set up and you wish to change yours then he will need to make a new will too, I would have thought.
If you are close to your DC I see no reason why a friend should inherit your share instead.

You can type up a document stating what type of service etc you would like, who should have what, who to contact etc and deposit it with your will.

Jaycee5 Wed 19-Apr-17 10:13:01

There is a difference between Mutual Wills which are also contractual and Mirror Wills where you have just agreed in a non binding way to do the same thing. You need to see a lawyer who specialises in Wills to look at this. Mutual Wills are far less common nowadays than they used to be but they can still exist.

Jalima1108 Wed 19-Apr-17 10:16:52

I understood that savings in joint names go automatically to the surviving spouse.
You would have to specify a sum of money to go to your DC from these savings or specify 50% of the savings in case you decided to spend some in the meantime.

margrete Wed 19-Apr-17 10:33:57

Jalima1108, you say that joint tenancy is not that usual. I don't know how 'usual' it is, but there are two options and joint tenancy is one. It's the option that we chose. The first survivor inherits the title 100% - that's how we wanted it. Actually I suppose there is a third option - the old-fashioned one where the title was in the man's name only assuming him to be the 'breadwinner'.

We have 'mirror wills' but there are one or two differences. We each have a legacy to a named charity of our own choice. Mine is to a wildlife hospital, his is to the local air ambulance. We've also left clear instructions in our wills as to where we want to be buried - a 'green burial ground', its name and contact details.

The last funeral we went to, we were asked to wear pink because that had been her favourite colour. I've let everyone know that I don't care if you wear pink, blue, green or any other colour/s, but please, no black. And snowdrops to be planted on my grave.

margrete Wed 19-Apr-17 10:35:20

PS: You really just need a good family solicitor. He/she will be used to all the questions, will have heard it all before and will be sympathetic and understanding.

cookiemonster66 Wed 19-Apr-17 10:35:55

YES! I have done exactly that due to similar circumstances, a daughter from previous relationship. Our will says if I die, my half becomes my daughters BUT obviously do not wish to make hubby homeless, so should he re-marry, die himself, or get put into a home, she automatically can claim my half of assets. I just did not want my money (I entered the marriage with a substantial sum) going to some new woman once he died and my daughter to miss out on her inheritance that I have worked hard for her future. So YES it can be done!

Shazmo24 Wed 19-Apr-17 10:41:58

We are presently in a situation where my DH brother remarried...His wife had 2 children from her previous marriage (her husband had died)...she died 2 years ago and instead of ensuring her 2 girls were taken care of (as in putting finances into a trust) she left everything to my BIL..she trusted him to do the "right thing to her girls"...but he is refusing to give them anything. ..He is due to remarry again in July (his 3rd marriage) & wantso to "buy out" his new wife's grown up boys of their share of the house which their father put into trust before he died.
What I'm saying is go & see a solicitor and get advice. ..but please make sure your children are not left out in the cold

radicalnan Wed 19-Apr-17 10:46:19

I would give my gifts to people now, while you can see them sefely where you want them to go and how happy the recipient is.

Get legal advice for the rest of it.

caocao Wed 19-Apr-17 11:01:14

Hi Cathy. I'd say first step would be to check how your home is registered. If its a joint tenancy then the property passes to the survivor but if you are registered as tenants in common then the share in your name can be bequeathed to whomever you wish.

tigger Wed 19-Apr-17 11:11:49

I believe you can now have a "follow the blood line will" which might be the most appropriate in your case.

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