A Brief Guide to Mirror Wills

A Brief Guide to Mirror Wills

There are a few different kinds of Will you can make. We recently spoke about trust Wills, and another type of Will you can make is a mirror Will.

A mirror Will is commonly used by married and unmarried couples who have similar wishes about where they want their possessions to be left. They are two separate legal documents that are practically identical in every way. They only differ in the name and possibly the funeral arrangements. However, after a mirror Will has been made, either person can subsequently change or update their Will. This is the same after one of the people has died. There is no legal obligation to keep the original mirror Will.

Advantages of Mirror Wills

There are a number of advantages to mirror Wills. They can be a cost efficient way of making a Will, especially if you and your partner have the same or similar wishes for your estate and possessions. They also allow you to leave all of your estate to your partner or spouse, which makes the Will writing process simpler.

Another advantage of a mirror Will is that, though the Wills are mirrored, each person has their own Will. This means that you can add Trusts to your own Will without affecting the other Will.

Disadvantages of Mirror Wills

The main disadvantage of a mirror Will is that one person may change their Will without the need to change both Wills. This can cause problems with the validity of the mirror Will. It can also cause problems if you die before your partner, as they can then change the Will to leave your assets to someone you did not want to leave them to.

Wills are also invalid if the other person remarries after your death. In this case the surviving partner then has full control of both their own and your assets.

How to Protect Your Own Assets in a Mirror Will

If you wish to protect certain assets in your mirror Will, then you can place certain assets into Trusts. This puts you in more control, especially after you die, as your partner can not leave the assets in the Trust to someone else.

The terms of the trust may allow your partner to benefit from your assets during their lifetime. Then if they die or remarry, your assets in the trust will go to the beneficiaries you choose.

If You Die Without A Will

In England or Wales, if someone dies without making a valid Will, then the law will decide who gets what. If you have no living relatives, then all your property, money and possessions go to the Crown. If you have children under 18, then other people can make decisions about who will take care of them and manage their finances, education and living arrangements until they turn 18.

How We Can Help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have a wealth of experience dealing with Wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form or by calling us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Writing A DIY Will

There are many things to consider when writing your Will. Whether to use a professional Will-writing service or write a DIY Will is one of the considerations. If you choose to write your own Will, there are a number of things you must do in order to make sure it is legally valid.

The most important thing that you need to do when writing your own Will is make sure you know what the law requires. If you do not do this correctly, your Will may be invalid or ineffective.

To be valid, a DIY Will, or holograph Will, as it is known in legal terms, must be executed in accordance with the requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. In this, the Will must be “Signed by the testator (the person making the Will) with the intention of it giving effect to their Will in the presence of two witnesses, who each sign the Will in the presence of the testator.” There are new rules due to the pandemic, which state you may now also use video witnessing for your Will.

You also need to be of sound mid to write your Will. It is important when writing your Will as it proves that what you write in your Will is what you actually want.

You must also make sure that, when you write your Will, you use terminology that is clear and avoids ambiguity in the eyes of the law. The Will must clearly state your wishes and you must use the correct terminology to avoid the Will being found to be invalid.

What Needs to go in a DIY Will?

If you choose to write your own Will, there are a number of things that you must include. These things are:

  • Your personal information (full name, current address, date of birth, details of any children you have and their dates of birth, relationship status)
  • Your estate (the items of value you own, either alone or joint with someone else. This includes property, accounts, stocks and shares, or any foreign property)
  • Any debts
  • Your beneficiaries (including the names and addresses of the beneficiaries)
  • If you wish to leave any gifts to charity
  • Your executors (you can choose one or more than one)
  • Legal guardians for your children (if you have any under 18)
  • Your other wishes (such as Trustees or funeral wishes)

If A DIY Will is Invalid

When a DIY Will is invalid, then the previous Will, if there was one, would be the legal Will. If there is no previous Will, then the Rules of Intestacy come into effect. These rules place family members in order of who should inherit your estate. This order is decided by the law.  It can also lead to lengthy legal disputes for families. So it is vital to make sure that your Will is written exactly how it would be if you used a professional Will-writing service.

How we can help

Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with all manner of inheritance cases. This includes issues with DIY Wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form or by calling us on to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

0161 413 8763

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