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Mutual and Mirror Wills – What is the Difference?

Mutual and Mirror Wills – What is the Difference?

When Will solicitors mention mutual and mirror Wills, the terminology can be confusing. Our estate planning solicitors look at the difference between mutual and mirror Wills in this blog.

At Solomons Solicitors, our team are experts in finding the perfect Will that works for you and your family, giving you that peace of mind. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you.

What is a mirror Will?

A mirror Will is identical to the Will of another family member. Typically, a mirror Will is signed by a husband and wife, civil partners, or couple in a cohabiting relationship.

Each mirror Will leaves the estate to the surviving partner. Normally, if their partner predeceases them, the estate is divided equally between their children.

Is a mirror will for you?

A mirror Will has the advantage of flexibility as it can be changed at any time, without first needing to inform the other Will maker of the change to the Will or needing their agreement. This flexibility can be a good thing as you may want to change your mirror Will after your partner has died as you no longer want one of your children to receive a share of the estate. For example, because an adult child has been made bankrupt.

Mirror Will flexibility can be a bad thing in a blended family if the surviving partner changes their mirror Will to exclude the children from sharing the estate because the partner has formed a new relationship. The new partner could inherit both mirror Will maker’s estates, leaving the children to try to challenge the Will.

What is a mutual Will?

With mutual Wills, there is an agreement to make the Wills simultaneously on agreed terms. There is a legally binding obligation that the mutual Wills will not be changed after the death of the first mutual Will maker.

When the first person passes away, and their estate is left in accordance with the terms of the mutual Will, the second surviving person is contractually bound to keep their mutual Will in place. If the survivor changes the mutual Will, under equitable law principles, a constructive trust over their estate on their death can be created to uphold the terms of the agreed Will.

Is a mutual Will for you?

Mirror and mutual Wills each have their advantages. A mutual Will can be changed before the death of the first person. It stops a surviving partner from changing their mind, for example, disinheriting the children of their deceased partner from receiving a share of the combined estate. This lack of flexibility can give a blended family peace of mind that children from different relationships will be treated fairly, following both testators’ wishes at the time they made their mutual Wills.

Your Will options

If you and your partner have a complex blended family, a Will solicitor can advise you on your Will options, so you understand the implications of signing a mutual or mirror Will. An estate planning lawyer can also talk to you about alternatives, such as the use of trusts in Wills to provide protection whilst still preserving flexibility should family circumstances change.

Speak to our Bournemouth-based Wills Lawyers today

Solomons Solicitors can help with the preparation of your Will, however complicated your family and personal circumstances may be. We provide clear, easy to understand legal advice on your Will options.

For a free initial consultation, call us today on 01202 802 807 or use our online enquiry form.

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