What are the differences between mutual and mirror wills?

 

Mirror wills

A mirror will is one in which both members of a couple produce wills that are virtually identical. Each partner is free to amend their will subsequently if they wish. Typically, both partners state that their property will go to their partner if they die first; or to the children of the relationship or another beneficiary favoured by both partners if they die second.

Some people feel uncomfortable making a mirror will because of the possibility that, if they die first, the surviving partner will alter their will to favour a different beneficiary to the one they agreed. This might occur, for example, if the surviving partner argues with the children and decides to disinherit them; or gets a new partner and wishes to leave their property to them.

Mutual wills

This is where the mutual will comes in. The couple produce identical wills and agree that neither can amend their will without the consent of the other, including after one of them dies.

However, mutual wills are rarely recommended by solicitors as there are a number of problems with them. Although the surviving spouse cannot change the beneficiaries of their will, it appears that there is nothing to prevent them from disposing of the property in their lifetime, leaving nothing for the beneficiary. Also, it is not clear what happens if the surviving partner remarries (this normally revokes a will) or if they have more children who could challenge the will on the grounds that reasonable financial provision should be made for them.

Many people wish to leave their property to their spouse if they die before them, while ensuring that their children or other beneficiaries ultimately receive the property. There are legal mechanisms like trusts that can achieve this without a mutual will being necessary. It is always strongly advisable to use a use a solicitor when writing a will and this is particularly so in this area as there are many factors and potential changes in circumstances that will affect the ultimate destination of your property.

We work closely with specialist will solicitors who will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your situation. Call us on 0808 129 5761 or fill in the web-form and we will be able to help.

Call
0808 129 5761
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant

 

We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.