How to Create a Last Will and Testament with Your Spouse

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Creating a last Will and Testament with your spouse can seem like QUITE a daunting task, and it’s generally not a subject that is brought up around the dinner table with friends.

I have taken the liberty of doing a little research including, a few interviews with friends in the legal industry, to create a guide to writing a last Will and Testament with your spouse.

We’ve gotcha covered with all the relevant details you and your spouse will need to have a super smooth and stress-free process as you write your Will.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. To learn more about ’em, click here.

Table of Contents
  1. What is a Last Will and Testament?
  2. Finding an Attorney to Write Your Will
  3. How to Write a Will: Questions to Consider With Your Spouse
  4. 10 Things to Bring to Your Appointment When Writing a Will
  5. How Much Does a Will Cost?
A couple discussing their last Will and testament together | The Dating Divas
Couple writing their Will together.

What is a Last Will and Testament?

What is a Will?

Your last Will and Testament is a legal document that ensures EVERYTHING you’ve listed as important to you (your children, your home, your assets, etc.) are taken care of in the way that YOU want them to be should something happen to you, your spouse, or even both of you.

Why is having a Will so important?

It’s awful to wrap our minds around the possibility that something so tragic could happen to us. If it did, though, you would want your family and loved ones to have one less thing to worry about during their time of immense grief.

If you do not have a Last Will and Testament, all of your important details and how they are distributed will be determined in a courtroom. {Yikes!}

Finding an Attorney to Write Your Will

Finding an attorney to write your last Will and Testament is a BIG step towards getting the ball rolling with this process. Though we have SO many useful resources available to us on Google (hallelujah!), I actually recommend starting elsewhere first.

The best way to find an attorney is by asking your friends and family for recommendations. Gathering referrals from those you know and love is a great way to gain some extra peace of mind when considering a project as significant as writing your Will.

If your loved ones don’t have attorney recommendations, you should encourage them to find one with you so that you can walk this path together! They may ask, “What is a Will?” and “Why do I need one?” Help them understand how crucial it is to have a Will for their family!

Another great way to find an attorney is to use your local bar association’s lawyer referral service. This will ensure that you find an attorney who is experienced with writing Wills in your area since community property laws generally differ in each state and may impact the details in your legal document.

Of course, searching google and doing your due diligence using the ever-helpful google reviews can always be a guide toward finding a fantastic attorney to work with within your area. You’ve got this!

A man and woman who are working on their Will together. | The Dating Divas
Couple discussing their Last Will and Testament.

How to Write a Will: Questions to Consider With Your Spouse

It’s important to remember that the Last Will and Testament for both you and your spouse can be as straightforward or as detailed as you want them to be.

Make sure you communicate with each other before your appointment about what items you feel are significant and need to be addressed in your Will(s). If you’re wondering how to make a will, don’t worry — we have prepared a will template with 10 questions to consider prior to your appointment.

how to write a will:

  1. Do we have someone we both trust to name as an alternate executor in our Wills should something happen to us? (Couples usually list each other as the primary executor on their Wills, but an alternate should always be considered. NOTE: The executor’s responsibilities are to ensure that the deceased’s last wishes are fulfilled by their last Will and Testament. They are also allowed to take inventory or appraisement of any property.)
  2. Do we have children, minor dependents, or pets that we would need to name a guardian for? When can we have a conversation with this person to ask their permission before adding their name to our Will documents?
  3. Do we want to set up a trust for our children, minor dependents, or pets? Who will we name as trustee? (The guardian is often named trustee since they will be the ones responsible for the care of your kids in the event your Will is enacted.)
  4. Do we want the trust established for our children to be withheld until a certain age? (example: $25,000 could be set aside for a child, but the trust documents can specify that the child does not receive the funds until they turn 21.)
  5. Do we have any valuable or sentimental items that we would want gifted to a family member, child, or friend? (example: wedding ring, coin collection, car, family heirloom, artwork, money, etc.)
  6. Do we have savings, checking accounts, or money market accounts that would need to be accounted for? NOTE: The BEST way to handle bank accounts is to have your financial institution list joint owners and/or beneficiaries on each of your accounts. The access and payout process will be MUCH easier and faster this way.
  7. Do we have any debts or loans that need to be settled before specifying how we want our funds disbursed?
  8. Do we have online log-ins to take note of in the event we are unable to access them? (example: mobile banking, investment accounts, email, social media, photo sites, etc.) NOTE: You can actually appoint someone as a digital executor for these! Be sure to ask your attorney!
  9. Do we have any intangible property like a business, stocks, or bonds? Do we have any intellectual property like patents, royalties, or copyrights? Who would we want these items allocated to?
  10. Do we know what each other’s burial wishes and preferred funeral arrangements are? Do we want funds set aside for this in our Will(s)?

Though these questions are heavy, all of these items are worth considering for your future! Having a well-thought-out Will template can help prepare you to successfully write your Will.

A man and woman discussing items in their last Will and testament | The Dating Divas
Couple making note of important items for their Will.

10 Things to Bring to Your Appointment When Writing a Will

Being EXTRA prepared for the appointment with an attorney will help relieve any nerves you have going into the process.

Give yourself room for grace! This is a LOT to think about! Gathering these documents a day or two prior to your meeting and setting aside time to flip through each item with your spouse is a great way to handle this task together.

HERE IS WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Birth Certificates for you, your spouse, and your children
  • Marriage Certificate (or a divorce decree if applicable)
  • Deed(s) to any property you and/or your spouse own
  • Mortgage information for all financed homes or property
  • Name and contact information for your: lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, financial advisor, personal banker, etc.
  • List of ALL bank accounts including, financial institution names, the routing number(s), and each of the account numbers (Note: ensure that you have updated the beneficiaries designated on each account.)
  • Insurance policy information (Note: ensure that you have updated the beneficiaries designated on each policy.)
  • Funeral plans and/or burial plot information
  • List of ALL investment and retirement accounts (include all the account numbers) (Note: ensure that you have updated the beneficiaries designated on each account.)

Grab a folder and make this part FUN with some tabs to keep yourself organized!

Knowing what you have, where it’s located, and why you need it will give you some well-deserved confidence walking into your attorney’s office to write your Will(s).

How Much Does a Will Cost?

Anything else to know?

Since your last Will and Testament can be as simple or as complex as you want, the price an attorney can charge will vary as well.

It’s also important to know that the Last Will and Testament are usually accompanied by two other documents. These include a power of attorney and a healthcare directive. Typically, these three documents will be included as one package or service that is offered to you.

Power of attorney is used to grant signing authority to a person you appoint. This person will then be able to make specific decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. It’s worth noting that you can name more than one person as an attorney-in-fact. Both you and your spouse will most likely need a power of attorney prepared.

The healthcare directive is a document that details how you wish for your health to be taken care of in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself in the hospital. This document details everything down to the moment of your passing.

How much does a will cost?

Though there may be exceptions, you can expect to pay between $300–$1000 for all three of these documents. Writing a last Will and Testament is an investment, but it is one well worth making.

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Mikayla

I am a 5'2" girl living in my 6'2" husband's world and loving EVERY second of it! I am the proud dog mom to our beautiful Corgi Australian Shepherd mix, Kobe. (Lovingly named by my hubs after his favorite LA Lakers Basketball legend Kobe Bryant.) I am the physical embodiment of the precise and vibrant intersection where the right brain meets the left. I am an introverted extrovert...or was it extroverted introvert?! I live for good music, challenging books, ALL forms of the glorious and ever-versatile potato, any DIY project that requires a big-girl powertool, daily quotes from The Office, every home reno show that exists on a streaming service, and moments in time that are filled by nothing but loud, lawless laughter.

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Recent Comments

  1. Loved this SO SO MUCH! While we have a will in place, this gave me SO much to think about! Thanks for putting together this resource!