Speak to your Long Island wills and trusts attorney and he or she will explain to you that a Joint Will is a contract between two spouses to dispose of their property in a particular way. Generally spouses verbally agree to make reciprocal wills leaving their property to each other and upon the death of the survivor everything to their children. This method will suffice in most cases because the children are born of the marriage and loved by both parents. However, one must contemplate the case where two people marry late in life and both have children by a prior marriage. Suppose both have separately accumulated wealth and each want their children to share in their estate. If they merely make reciprocal wills, the surviving spouse could always change his or her will later and cut out the children of the deceased. This happens quite frequently where the surviving spouse does not get along with his or her stepchildren. If the first spouse dies and the survivor probates the joint and mutual will, the survivor is contractually bound to leave his or her estate in accordance with the distribution scheme in the will. If all children named in the will are to receive equal shares, the surviving spouse is contractually obligated to dispose of the estate equally to all children, including the step-children. An experienced New York wills lawyer can help draft a will that makes sense for your family.