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What Are Mirror Wills?

In England and Wales, mirror wills,or joint wills, are commonly made by married and unmarried couples that have very similar wishes about what they want written into their wills.

Married couples often write wills which are identical in their provisions, often leaving the estate to the surviving spouse or if the spouse does not survive to the children. These wills are two separate legal documents owned and written by each party. 

A simple example of what a couple with children could write into their mirror wills is that each person leaves everything to the other, and whoever dies last leaves everything to any shared children.  

Should I Write A Mirror Will?

If you and your partner own property and have children then mirror wills are something you should consider. If you are engaged, in a marriage or civil partnership and both of you agree where your assets should go when you pass away, definitely consider making mirror wills. If both partners want different things, you can both make individual wills.

Mirror wills are almost identical legal documents, so if each of you has different wishes, it is better not to choose mirror wills. In this case, you would simply have two separate wills written, with each will specifying each person’s requirements.

Advantages Of Mirror Wills

There are many benefits to making mirror wills with your partner, for example: 

  • Your partner inherits everything; By making a mirror you’re ensuring the financial security of your partner if you pass away first. This is especially important if you’re not married as they might not inherit your assets die to the rules of intestacy
  • You’ll be providing for your children; If you and your partner have children, a mirror will ensure they inherit your estate when you and your partner both pass away. You can also protect your children by appointing a guardian, should both you and your partner pass away before they reach the age of 18, and a trustee to protect your estate until your children are old enough to inherit it. See here for more estate planning tips.
  • You can name additional executors; With a mirror will, your partner is usually the sole beneficiary as well as the executor. However, that means that you can appoint additional executors, meaning that if you and your partner die at the same time, both your wishes can still be carried out. 
  • The Wills don’t have to be identical; Although a key feature of mirror wills is that both wills are the same, they can have some small differences. For example, additional executors may be desired or differing funeral arrangements. 
  • You can avoid inheritance tax. With inheritance tax, assets left from one spouse to another are tax free. This benefit is then transferred to the surviving spouse. This means that when the second spouse dies, all their assets (including that which they’ve inherited from their deceased spouse) can be passed on with twice the inheritance tax-free allowance. 
  • It can be revoked if circumstances change. If your relationship status changes, an additional executor dies, or you simply change your mind, you can change or revoke your will at any time. Read how to protect your assets in a second marriage.

Disadvantages Of Mirror Wills

Mirror wills can be revoked by either person at any time without needing approval from the other. In many ways this is an advantage as it gives you both the flexibility to deal with changing circumstances. But it can also be a problem; You must be able to be sure that after your death your partner won’t change their will and pass on your estate to people not of your choosing. Imagine them leaving your estate to a new partner, or new children. This may leave your chosen beneficiaries without the inheritance you intended.

You may also find the estate used for care home fees, should either party need to enter one. Even if you’ve agreed to leave your children (or anyone else) your assets, they may not end up receiving the full dividends.

What If We Die At The Same Time?

When making a mirror will, or any other type of will, it’s important to consider and plan for all potential scenarios, including what should happen if you both die together.

At Family Matters, our will writing specialists will discuss this eventuality with you. We can then ensure your mirror wills contain the correct clauses to accurately reflect what you would like to happen if you both die together.

OurWill Writing Service

If you are considering Estate Planning or a Will writing service, our advisors are here to offer free Will writing advice. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.

Get started now; complete this form or give us a call on 0333 242 2845 or 0161 528 4200 and we will answer any queries. 

Once written you need to keep your Will safe and tamper proof. At Family Matters we provide secure Will storage for all of our clients. 


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