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  • Gabriella Ferraro

Mirror Wills v Mutual Wills

Written by Tatiana Holguin

Edited by Dannielle Wright

A Will is a legal document that expresses how you would like your estate to be distributed upon your passing. Your Will can also contain clauses regarding guardianship of minor children as well as funeral and burial directions. Wills should be tailored to each individual’s particular circumstances, and can be simple or complex, depending on each situation.

In most partnerships, couples typically opt for mirror Wills. This is a type of Will whereby one person’s Will reflects the terms of someone else’s Will. For example, Catherine and Paul are married and they have three children. Catherine’s Will leaves her whole estate to her husband, Paul, and in the event that Paul dies before her, then to their three children. In the same way, Paul’s Will gives his whole estate to his wife, Catherine and if Catherines dies before him, then to their three children. Essentially, the terms of the Will are identical except they are for the benefit of the opposite spouse.

On the other hand, couples can choose to prepare mutual Wills. These differ from mirror Wills as the parties agree to make their respective Wills together in an agreed form. They require the execution of a legally binding agreement which states that the parties will not amend the Will in the future. These kinds of Wills are usually used by couples to bind their assets and so one spouse does not change their Will upon the passing of the other. This is appealing to couples that have remarried, and have children from a former spouse that they wish to provide for. A mutual Will may also be beneficial as a subsequent re-marriage by the surviving spouse does not revoke the obligation for the deceased spouse’s estate to be held for the children of the first marriage. However, a mutual Will can be risky and inflexible, this is because you cannot change it unless divorce or marriage takes place.

Wills can only be made by a person over 18 with capacity. If you require a Will, it is recommended that you seek legal and accounting advice in order to have an appropriate document that adheres to your circumstances and wishes.

If you need advice on Wills or estate planning, please do not hesitate in contacting our office to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.

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