The definitive guide to Mirror Wills.
What Is A Mirror Will?
We often get asked “Whats a mirror Will? “. The simple answer is a mirror will is two wills. One for you and one for your partner, and they essentially work opposite each other with the names switched.
This means that the mirror will cost should be lower than two individual wills. Just because you get a mirror Will doesn’t mean that you have to have the exact same answers.
One of you may wish to be buried and the other may want to be cremated. But you can still have mirror Wills. Minor changes shouldn’t cost any extra.
When Should Mirror Wills Be Written?
Generally speaking, Mirror Wills are for couples wanting in the first instance to leave their estates to each other.
You may want to leave parts to other people or children as well. Possibly leaving individual items. These are all acceptable additions that shouldn’t cost you extra.
Why Make A Mirror Will?
There are a few different reasons for making mirror Wills. Here’s the main ones:
Your Partner Inherits Everything
Making sure everything is left to each other if one of you died. Protecting your partners future.
If you are not married, they may not be legally entitled to anything at all!
You Can Provide for Your Children
Appointing guardians so that if you both died at the same time your family are looked after.
You Can Name Additional Executors
Normally you would each be executor of each other’s estate.
However, you may want to add additional executors in case you died at the same time.
What Are The Problems With Mirror Wills?
Mirror Wills are great, simple and usually cheap. However, what if you die and your estate goes to your partner, they remarry and change their will to go to their new partner. Your children might receive nothing in the future from your estate.
However, the general rule is any Will is probably better than no Will.
Can Mirror Wills Be Changed?
Absolutely! You can change a Mirror Will at any point. This is a blessing and a curse as we mentioned in the last section.
You can’t really modify a Will. Any time you want to change your Will it involves writing a new one essentially. So speak to your estate planner to find out what the costs will be.
Can A Mirror Will Be Contested?
Wills can always be contested. However, it is quite hard to contest a Will. There are some examples of when it can, and has, happened. This is usually down to the above example of someone dying and their estate going to their partner, the partner remarries and the kids get nothing.
Wills are not usually very easily contested. But they can be if there is a reason, especially if the meaning of the mirror Will has not been carried out.
What Is The Difference Between A Single Will or Mirror Will?
A single Will is just for one person. Specific to that person and not just the opposite of their partners Will. This is useful if you each have different estates that you wish different things to happen to.
We keep coming back to the same example, but a good solution to our previous example:
- Person A dies after making a mirror Will with Person B
- Then, Person B remarries to Person C
- Person B knows the intention of the mirror Will and Person A’s wishes is that their children inherit their estate.
So Person B makes a single Will leaving everything inherited from Person A to their children, with other assets going to Person C.
What Is A Mirror Wills For Married Couples?
Mirror Wills for Married couples are the same as Mirror Wills for any couple.
The main difference is that the laws of intestacy in the UK say that an estate goes to the spouse in general anyway.
However, it is still worth having a Will if you are married, so that everything else you want to happen, happens.
Can You Change A Mirror Will After One Person Dies?
Yes you can. But you should be careful how you change your will. You may want different people to benefit now, but what was the intention of the mirror Will. If the person you made a Will with intended for certain people to benefit, changing your will so they don’t may make it contestable.