Do I Need A Will If I Am Married?

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| 4 min. read |

Traditionally, your spouse would likely inherit your things even if you die without a will, but you shouldn't leave that up to chance. Additionally, if you want anyone other than your spouse to receive any of your assets, you would need to include that in your will because that isn't the default.

The death of a spouse is a significant life-changing event that brings emotional turmoil and distress. It is a time of uncertainty and can raise concerns about the future, particularly as it involves assets, debt, marriage inheritance and other critical life necessities. Many couples may ask: do I need a will if I am married? Here's what you should consider. 

Losing a loved one is challenging in any circumstance but when it comes to losing the person with who you share your life and may have a family with, the burden of organizing what happens to their belongings after death can be too much to bear.

We often live life taking the day as it comes, rarely thinking of the inevitable circumstance of our death at some point in life. With many pushing the case of their death to the side, we fail to recognize the importance of getting our affairs in order to ensure that our family is well taken care of by making a will. Is inheritance considered marital property?

Having a will in place to establish the distribution of your assets and the care of your children can make a significant difference and will enable your loved ones to grieve. When it comes to marriage and inheritance, the boundaries of what happens are unclear to many. This article will outline all the information you need on whether you need a will if you're married.

Marriage and Inheritance

Whether an inheritance you received during marriage will be subject to division depends on several factors, including the state in which you live, your treatment of the inherited property, and whether an inheritance was left to one or both spouses.

Inheritance Rights Without A Will

If there's no will in place, it's important to understand how assets are handled in the event that a spouse dies. 

  • Unfortunately, if a spouse passes without having left a will outlining the terms determining how they wish their assets to be distributed, the living spouse will not automatically inherit the assets. Instead, the deceased spouses' assets that had their name on them alone will be handled by the state and distributed by a probate court.

  • Intestate (without a will) a spouses' assets will essentially be distributed in the order of the entitled family members. If the deceased spouse has living relatives such as siblings or parents, half of their named assets will be distributed between the existing family members, whilst the other half and the community property may be inherited by the surviving spouse.

  • However, if the deceased spouse has no living family members other than children, the children will stand to inherit a share of the deceased spouses' separate, named property, whilst the living spouse may inherit both the community property and a share of the separate assets.

  • If the deceased spouse has no living family members to inherit their assets, then it may be decided that the living spouse inherits everything.

  • Joint assets such as bank accounts and property that are jointly owned in marriage or any other community property will be inherited by the living spouse. However, if there are living family members it may be decided that the community property and separate named assets are split amongst family members. However, the living spouse will be entitled to half of the community property.

The distribution of who inherits what after a spouse passes away can become a complicated process especially when it comes to extended family and complex families who may have been separated or in previous marriages. 

The ins and outs of inheritance without a will can leave a lot of things uncertain and cause severe anxiety for loved ones left behind. Hence, to avoid complications, and the free distribution of your assets to be passed on to those who you may not wish to receive them, making a will is the most effective and steadfast way to ensure security. 

Making a will, will not only provide you with peace of mind of knowing that everything is in order, if you do have a complex family structure, it will also ensure that there are no family disputes over your inheritance.

Spousal Right After Death (With A Will) 

Making a will in a marriage is essential for ensuring that your spouse is taken care of after you're gone. It also ensures that they continue to live in the way they are accustomed to, whether that be living in the family home, living with their children, or being fully supported. Putting these things in place may seem daunting but once organized, it can make a world of difference for those left behind. 

Do I Need A Will If I Am Married? Why You Should Create A Will

Having a will, regardless of whether you're married or not, is the most effective way to get your affairs in order and to ensure that your assets and property are distributed in accordance with your wishes. Do I need a will if I am married? 

A Will is an essential part of any estate plan. It is the primary document for transferring your assets upon your death. You should decide who inherits which assets and when they should receive them. You should decide who will manage your estate as executor and/or trustee. You should select a guardian for your minor child. You should provide for the orderly continuance or sale of a family business.

The terms enlisted in your will can determine everything from who you wish to inherit a much-loved family heirloom or who will look after your children or pets. Hence, a will is a critical document that sets things in order to protect your family and to ensure that they continue to be looked after in the way you wish and your assets are protected. 

Wills.Com can help. There is no need for making a will to take months. Making a will the traditional way can be a lengthy and expensive process that leaves you feeling worn out and stressed. It doesn't need to be complex. 

There are new technological solutions that enable you to create your legal will online in a matter of minutes. Standout online will services such as make creating a will easy by providing you with state-specific questions that allow you to generate a secure will that puts all your affairs in order to take care of your loved ones. With you'll be able to secure decisions of your allocated beneficiaries, digital property, and guardianship. 

Creating a will online is a great way to ensure that you and your spouse have your affairs in order in the event that you pass away. Not only will it give peace of mind it avoids unnecessary complications later down the line.

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