Are Mirror Wills a Good Idea?

What is a mirror Will?

As the name suggests, a mirror Will is a legal document that reflects the wishes set out in another person’s Will. They are usually used by couples – married and unmarried – who have similar wishes for how their estate should be distributed after their death.

Although mirror Wills are two separate documents, they will essentially be the same in terms of their content. For example, you might set out matching clauses in your Wills that state everything should go to the surviving partner, and then to your children.

In this guide, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of a mirror Will, as well as what will happen to a mirror Will when one person dies and how a solicitor could help you. Read on to find out more or get in touch with our friendly team for initial advice.

Advantages of a mirror Will

If you’re in a committed relationship, there are many reasons why a mirror Will could be the right option for you – here are just a few:

  • It can be cheaper
    One of the main advantages of writing mirror Wills is that it is often cheaper than drafting up two separate single Wills. This is because each document is almost identical, so there is usually less work involved in creating each one.
  • It is often simpler
    Another reason couples choose to create mirror Wills is because it can make the process of writing and executing a Will simpler. In most mirror Wills, one person’s estate is left to the surviving partner, so there is little room for misinterpretation or disagreements.
  • There are financial benefits
    In financial terms, leaving the entirety of your estate to a spouse in a mirror Will could also mean that you’re exempt from paying inheritance tax. So you can feel confident that your family will benefit fully from the assets you’ve left behind.

Disadvantages of a mirror Will

There are risks to making mirror Wills, too. One of the main ones being that these types of Wills can be changed at any time by either party without the other person knowing. This could result in one partner removing jointly agreed upon beneficiaries or withdrawing the Will altogether.

For this reason, it's important to think carefully about who you create a mirror Will with. 

Is a mirror Will still valid when one person dies?

Mirror Wills remain valid even after one person in the relationship dies. But it will still be possible for the surviving partner to update their own Will after the other person’s death – which can cause family disputes further down the line.

For instance, if you were to make your partner or spouse a sole beneficiary in your mirror Will and they married someone else after your death, they would legally be able to transfer their estate – including anything they inherited from you – to their new spouse.

In the worst cases, this can lead to biological and step-children missing out. So, again, we would encourage you to only consider making mirror Wills with someone you can trust to carry out your wishes properly.

How could a solicitor help me?

Many of us put off writing our Wills, and when we do get round to it, it can be difficult to know which type of Will to choose. Our Wills and probate solicitors can help to take away some of the confusion involved.

Find out more by giving our friendly team a call or enquire online.


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