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What is a Mirror Will?

Amy Peters
12 October 2021 11 min read

We often get asked by couples if we can prepare a “joint will” for them but the reality is, no such thing exists.

In fact, each person needs to make their own Will document but it may the case that each of these documents effectively mirrors the other hence the term, Mirror Wills.

Usually mirror wills arise between couples with shared assets who wish to appoint the same executors and make provision for the same beneficiaries, often their children. It’s usually more cost effective to make a pair of mirror wills then having two different wills and it can be the right option for many people, but there are some other aspects to keep in mind.

By creating mirror wills, simple provision is often made for the surviving spouse and the children to inherit the deceased spouse’s estate in it’s entirety. However, once the surviving spouse has inherited, it’s possible that they may make a new will which could change the original wishes of you as a couple when you originally embarked on the process.

The surviving spouse may not even get around to making a new will but subsequently re-marries or enters into a civil partnership. Any Will they previously made is revoked by marriage so the new spouse or civil partner could benefit from your joint estate significantly by the rules of intestacy which could disadvantage your children. It’s often not a purposeful deviation from previous wishes, more the winding road of life that causes people not to revisit their wills.

One alternative route could be to create a Life Interest Trust within your will in relation to the family home, for example. This will mean that your spouse can continue to benefit from the property and live there but your children will always inherit your share regardless of the twists and turns life takes after your death. The way the property is owned would need to also change from “joint tenants” to “tenants in common” to facilitate this type of Will trust and ensure your share always passes to your chosen beneficiaries.

What is the next step?

Has this raised some further questions for you on how you should structure your Will?

Give the team a call and we can chat this through with you to ensure you make the right decisions when making your own will. 

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