The Pitfalls of Mirror Wills
Posted on 21st March 2023 at 10:35
What are Mirror Wills?
As the name suggests, Mirror Wills are Wills which mirror one another and are commonly made by couples, whether they are married or not. These Wills reflect the same wishes, which are typically for the survivor to inherit the deceased’s estate on the first death and their children to inherit on second death.
The Advantages of Mirror Wills
• Quick, cheap and straightforward -
As Mirror Wills are almost identical, they can be drafted more quickly and at a lower cost.
• Protecting your partner’s future and providing for your children -
Mirror Wills ensure that the surviving partner inherits everything on first death, which wouldn’t be the case if you were unmarried at the time of passing. You are also able to make provisions for your children on second death.
• Mitigation of inheritance tax -
Leaving your entire estate to your spouse or civil partner on first death and then to your children on second death is the most tax efficient way to leave your estate, meaning you could ultimately leave more money to your children.
• Can be revoked -
As you have testamentary freedom, you can revoke your Will at any time and change it as many times as you like in your lifetime.
The Disadvantages of Mirror Wills
• Blended Families -
One of the most common scenarios arises where there is a blended family and the survivor makes a new Will which diverts their estate away from their stepchildren in order to solely benefit their biological children, leaving their late spouse or civil partner’s children out completely.
It is also a common occurrence where the survivor remarries or enters into a civil partnership and changes their Will to leave everything to their new spouse or civil partner instead of their children.
• Can be revoked -
The major downside to having a mirror Will is that there is nothing preventing the survivor from changing their Will once their partner has passed away. Although there may be a moral obligation on the survivor to honour their partner’s wishes, there is no legal obligation to do so.
Mirror Wills can also be changed when both parties are still alive. The Wills are not legally linked so if one person changes their Will, the other person does not legally need to be notified.
In some circumstances, Mirror Wills are a very effective method of ensuring your partner, spouse or civil partner and children are looked after in the future. However, every family is different and there may be more suitable options available to you in the form of a bespoke Will, a trust or protective property trust Will.
It is important to discuss these options with legal professionals to ensure that you take every step to ensure your family is provided for when you’re gone.
We can deal with all aspects of the wills process for you to give you peace of mind. Contact us on 0113 2007480 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your free initial, no obligation consultation with a specialist.
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