The term Mirror Wills is used for Wills made by spouses or unmarried partners where the wishes of each person reflects the wishes of the other. They are very common for people who are married or in a relationship who will usually want to make similar provisions in their Wills. This usually means that they both leave the bulk of their property and assets to each other. Mirror Wills are individual Wills made by each person; they are not a ‘joint’ Will.
The lawyer-approved Lawpack Mirror Wills Kit for couples provides Mirror Will forms that have been drafted to make the creation of Mirror Wills a straightforward process. It is assumed that you will wish to name your spouse or partner as your main beneficiary and name an alternative beneficiary if he or she predeceases you, but it is possible to alter the Will Form to make different provision.
Mirror Wills vs Mutual Wills
It is possible to create a so-called ‘Mutual Will’ agreement where you and your spouse or partner not only wish to make similar provision but wish both of you to be unable to make any other form of provision. Such agreements are not covered by the Lawpack Mirror Wills Kit; they are not common and can cause significant problems. If you do think you want to enter into a Mutual Will agreement then we strongly suggest that you consult a solicitor.
Mirror Wills pros and cons
Mirror Wills are relatively easy, quick and economical to set up, as both spouse or partners make similar wishes. For convenience the Lawpack Mirror Wills Kit is drafted to provide for legacies and gifts that can apply whoever dies first, and for legacies and gifts that will apply only on the death of the second. For example, you may want to give sentimental items such as watches or jewellery to children whoever dies first, but only want a gift of the house to take effect when you have both died.
However either person can make different provisions in their Will; this can be a drawback as there is nothing to stop one person changing their Will without the other’s knowledge.
Can you change a Mirror Will after one person dies?
Yes. Mirror Wills created by a husband and wife or by partners are not legally connected. There is nothing stopping either person changing their Will while their spouse/partner is alive or after their death.
Can a Mirror Will be changed after death?
Like any other Will, a Mirror Will cannot itself be changed or rewritten after the testator’s death. But the effect of the Will can be changed, so that beneficiaries can change their own entitlement under the Will. This is done by what’s called a deed of variation. Changes to an estate by a deed of variation may be useful in a range of circumstances. For example, a beneficiary may not want or need their share and would like it to go to charity, or there could also be tax-efficient reasons for changing the distribution of an estate.