When you make a will at any time of your life, you know your estate and your final wishes will be dealt with accordingly and how you wanted. So choosing the right type of will, one that’s relevant to your own needs, is essential. In any partnership, marriage, or civil partnership, it used to be common to see a Joint Will used for both partners. Nowadays a Mirror Will provides more benefits and ensures your estate stays in your family unit rather than being divided.
A Mirror Will is two separate wills that are almost identical and used by spouses and partners who want to leave their property and assets to each other. The only difference in the will is that each spouse or partner names the other to be their main beneficiary if one of them passes away. Any specific funeral arrangements can also be added.
The most common type of Mirror Will is when one spouse or partner leaves their entire estate to the other, followed by any named children. In the event of one partner dying, the other is protected as they become the sole beneficiary. When the second partner dies, the estate is then passed to the children.
Nowadays, Mirror Wills are far more common than Joint Wills and are largely regarded as being a more modern way of dealing with an estate.
There are several different types of personal will that you can choose, and which one you use will depend on your circumstances. Our Wills and Estate Planning page will give you more information on the different types available, but alongside Mirror Wills, here are three common Will types:
One of the most familiar types of Will is a Single Will, suitable for any individual to express their final wishes. Single Wills are more common for people who aren’t married or in a relationship, but they can also be used by couples if one spouse has different wishes to the other. This type of will shows exactly how you want your assets and possessions to be distributed and who to while detailing any special funeral arrangements.
Living Wills (also known as ‘Advanced Decisions’) are a legally binding document that allows you to express your wishes and preferences concerning any treatments or medication you don’t want to use or refuse to take in the future. A Living Will will only come into effect if you become terminally ill with a long-term medical condition or lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Mutual Wills are not that common and are unique in their purpose. When a Mutual Will is drawn up by a couple, they agree that neither of them can change, amend, or revoke the will without the other’s consent. When agreed and signed, the Will cannot be altered by the remaining spouse. Though unusual, Mutual Wills can ensure an estate, and property in particular, is passed on in a certain way.
A Life Interest Trust can be added into your will to give your spouse, partner, or any other beneficiary, a ‘life interest’ in any of your assets. This is usually applied to your home and means that the person you specify can continue living there after you die, and until they die if they choose. After that point, it will be dealt with following your final wishes in your Will.
All wills have different advantages for people and your decision will come down to personal choice. But for couples, Mirror Wills often have the advantage as they provide the same outcome whichever partner dies first. Among other advantages, Mirror Wills can:
• Protect the financial future of your partner/spouse
• Provide security for your children if both spouses die at the same time
• Allow for additional named executors
• Avoid inheritance tax
While Mirror Wills are a sound choice for many couples, like many things, they can come with some disadvantages and may not be the right option for you. Some disadvantages to think about before you take out a Mirror Will include:
• Spouses can make changes at any time, even without your knowledge
• Confusion over non-biological children in any future new relationship
Like other types of Will, Mirror Wills can be created either by yourself by using a standard DIY kit or by using a professional will writer or solicitor like MJR Solicitors.
DIY Will kits are affordable and easily available both online and in high street stores. They give you all the paperwork you need alongside step-by-step instructions to create a legal document in the comfort of your own home. However, they can confuse if something isn’t explained well or you simply don’t understand what you need to do.
Using professional services like MJR Services for your Mirror Will means, while you might pay a bit more than you would for a DIY kit, you get a personal service. Accuracy in any legal document is crucial, otherwise, you could end up paying more in the long run. We’ll make sure every detail is correct and answer any of your questions to make sure your Mirror Wills are created as quickly and accurately as possible.
In a word, yes. While Mirror Wills reflect what both partners want while naming each other as the main beneficiary, they are not legally bound together, so making any changes is easily done. They can be updated or changed however and whenever you like and we can help you do it.
MJR Solicitors provide affordable fixed fees for all our will writing services, including Mirror Wills, with Single Wills starting from £195 (+ VAT). What you see is what you pay and we’ll make the whole process as quick, easy, and understandable as possible for you, giving you all the guidance and advice you need, from start to finish.
Creating any Will, no matter how straightforward it should be, has the potential to become complicated with plenty of detail to cover. As specialists in wills and estate planning, we can give you expert advice on Mirror Wills, explaining every aspect in plain English, so you have the right Will for you and your family.
We encourage everyone to write their will as soon as possible and we’re always here to help you with any questions or to make any changes to an existing Will for you. Book your free 30-minute consultation with us today and we can talk you through your options. Contact our team today on 01243 945 054, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message on our contact form.
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