Are Mirror Wills always a good idea?

Mirror Wills are prepared for couples who want to make almost identical Wills, i.e., they ‘mirror’ one another. These kinds of Wills are two separate legal documents with similar content which often leave the estate to one another and then other beneficiaries on second death, often the children then grandchildren.

Mirror Wills are the most common Wills sought by couples looking to get their affairs in order. Farsight Wills cost for Mirror Wills can be found on our Prices page.

There is no doubt that for many couples going down the route of Mirror Wills might be a simple solution to distributing their estate when the inevitable happens.

However, it’s important to note that Mirror Wills are two separate legal documents. They are not tied to each other in any way other than the content is similar. As such this means that either party can change the Will without the need to inform the other. Or one party could change the content after the other has died.

Any other problems with Mirror Wills?

As well as either party being able to change their Will another issue is that if the survivor after first death was to re-marry the original Will would be revoked (cancelled). This could cause the entire estate to pass to the new spouse under the rules of intestacy, leaving the children high and dry.

Even if the surviving spouse remembered to write a new Will there is still a risk of the children losing out through sideways disinheritance, Long Term Care fees or the new spouse deciding to change his or her Will.

Enough of the problems what is the solution?

We often recommend Trusts to be inserted into Mirror Wills. This is especially useful if the couple own a property. Not only can the Trust protect their share of the family home for the intended beneficiaries, it can also help in ringfencing their house share from being swallowed up by Long Term Care fees.

The terms of the Trust can allow your partner to benefit from the Trust assets during their lifetime. Then after your partner’s death (or perhaps re-marriage) the assets in the Trust pass to your chosen beneficiaries, usually the children. This type of Trust is also very useful if you have children from a previous relationship. Inserting a Trust means that the survivor is unable to re-direct the assets if they change their Will after your death or if they were to remarry.

Our free information pack has further details on Protective Property Trusts including an example of how it saved Mr and Mrs Smith from Swindon over £114,000 compared to standard Mirror Wills.

To find out more or to book a no obligation free consultation contact us on 01793 433705 or use the Contact Page. We are happy to carry out free home visits or if you prefer you are welcome to book an appointment at our Swindon town centre offices at 26 Commercial Road, Swindon, SN1 5NS.