What Is A Reciprocal Will?


Planning for the future can be a daunting task, but it is essential to ensure that your assets and loved ones are taken care of after you pass away. One of the most common ways to do this is by creating a will. And if you are married, you may want to consider creating a reciprocal will.

Understanding Reciprocal Wills

A reciprocal will is a legal document created by a married couple that leaves their assets to each other upon death. It is a mutual agreement that neither spouse will change their will without the other’s approval. In other words, it is a joint will.

Benefits of a Reciprocal Will

One of the key benefits of a reciprocal will is that it provides clarity and certainty. It ensures that both spouses’ wishes are carried out after their passing. It also eliminates the possibility of disputes between family members over who inherits what assets.

Another benefit is that it may save money. Creating a joint will can be less expensive than creating two separate wills. Additionally, it may simplify the probate process.

Limitations of a Reciprocal Will

While reciprocal wills have their benefits, they also have some limitations. For example, if one spouse passes away and the surviving spouse remarries, they may need to create a new will that reflects their new circumstances. Additionally, if one spouse wants to change their will, they must get the other spouse’s approval.

Creating a Reciprocal Will

To create a reciprocal will, both spouses must agree on the terms and conditions of the will. They can either create the will themselves or hire an attorney to do so. The will must be signed by both spouses in the presence of witnesses and a notary public.

It is important to note that a reciprocal will is a legal document and should be taken seriously. It is recommended that both spouses seek legal advice before creating a reciprocal will.

Updating a Reciprocal Will

Life is unpredictable, and circumstances can change. It is important to keep a reciprocal will up to date to reflect any changes in circumstances. For example, if a couple has children or acquires new assets, they may need to update their will to reflect these changes.


A reciprocal will can be a useful tool for married couples who want to ensure that their wishes are carried out after their passing. It provides clarity and certainty and can save money. However, it is important to understand the limitations and seek legal advice before creating a reciprocal will.

Remember, a will is a critical part of planning for the future, and creating one can bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones.