Mutual Wills

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Mutual wills are wills made by at least two people, usually spouses or otherwise committed couples. As outlined in Murphy v. Glenn, mutual wills are not one will, but two separate wills that are reciprocal, identical, or substantially similar. The purpose of a mutual will is to grant the survivor of the two the property contained in the wills, and then to specified individuals after the death of the survivor. Further, mutual wills can contain clauses that they are not revocable without the consent of both parties. Without such a clause, mutual wills do not automatically carry the presumption of a contract, as is outlined in statutes such as this one from Georgia or this one from Florida. If a mutual will has been properly created, a surviving spouse cannot later change the terms of the will or make an inter vivos transfer of funds. Prior to the death of the first spouse, however, either spouse can make changes to their will as long as they first notify the other spouse that they have done so.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]