Blended families (“Brady Bunch families”) create their own challenges in estate planning. In particular, how can both sets of children and both sides of the family be protected?
One method is the use of Mutual Wills. Mutual Wills are based on the Willmakers signing a contract regarding the contents of a Will.
A Will is of its nature revocable and can be changed. The main feature of Mutual Wills is that there is an express or implied contract not to revoke a Will after the death or incapacity of one of the contracting parties.
Typically a Mutual Will Contract will include covenants as to the agreed terms of the Wills of each party which are not to be changed.
Advantages of Mutual Wills
One advantage is that a Mutual Will gives the survivor of the contracting parties more freedom and flexibility to deal with assets during their lifetime while still reflecting the joint wishes of the Willmakers at the time they make their Wills. This is contrasted with limitations imposed by way of alternatives such as life estates.