If you want to limit this aspect of marriage you could draw up a prenuptial agreement which should be signed at least 21 days prior to the marriage, or sign mutual wills
which will bind the survivor to divide the estate as previously agreed.
In this respect, an agreement must be made between the spouses expressed in the wills that they have agreed to execute mutual wills
as well as that they have agreed not to revoke them during their lifetime nor the surviving spouse after the death of the other.
Denny's son took the matter to the Court of Appeal who found that Laura and Denny's agreement made their wills Mutual Wills
and it would be unfair to allow Laura to change her will after Denny's death.
In 2003, three years after the mutual wills
were executed, Robert died.
The doctrine of mutual wills
also operates in support of contracts for the benefit of third parties.
Particular issues for seniors include reviewing a will regularly to ensure beneficiaries still survive, exploring options for trusts for grandchildren, and properly managing later life relationships: life estates and mutual wills
may be appropriate options.
The court distinguished this situation from a joint representation involving multiple estate planning clients, because it did not involve "mutual wills
prepared by the attorney." The court found no conflict of interest, stating that "a lawyer who prepares a will owes no duty to any previous beneficiary, even a beneficiary he may be representing in another matter, to oppose the testator or testatrix in changing his or her will and, therefore, that assisting in that change is not a conflict of interest." The dissent pointed out Florida Ethics Opinion 95-4, finding that the representation of both mother and daughter in various business transactions as well as estate planning created a conflict when the mother decided to change her w ill.
The elderly couple had made mutual wills
appointing the other as sole executor to their assets.
A To be absolutely sure I would have to look at the terms of the will to ensure that they were not both made as "mutual wills
" which bind both parents even after the first has died.
[It has been more than 200 years since the leading case on mutual wills
was handed down in Dufour v Pereira.
They executed mutual wills
, both of which provided that, if a disclaimer was made by the decedent, the disclaimed portion of the estate would go into a trust.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals held that Helen's second will was valid, because the mutual will
placed no contractual obligation on her to refrain from executing a new will; see Est.