A mirror will is a will that mirrors another in its content. It is especially popular among established couples as these wills aren’t intended to leave the bulk of someone’s estate to multiple people. The two people making the will, who are involved in the arrangement will leave all or most of their estate to each other. It doesn’t matter whether the couple is married or not, however. Any two people can draw up mirror wills.
Such a will helps simplify things if one partner, or person involved in the arrangement, dies. The will also helps protect any children that the couple has. This will help ensure the children will inherit both estates.
The premise of a mirror will sounds ideal, but there are pros and cons to a mirror will, as with most things in life (and death).
Pros and Cons of Mirror Wills
When you draw up a mirror will, you need to realise that you are setting up your family’s future in a very particular way. You must completely trust your other half. He or she could make a new will tomorrow or five years down the line, and they have no legal obligation to inform you if they do.
If you pass away, your partner survives you, and subsequently starts a relationship with someone else, nothing can prevent them from making a completely new will and disinheriting your children. Sadly, it has become much more commonplace for that to happen, and it is something that each partner needs to be very aware of.
Another concern is if your partner needs to go into a care or nursing home. This move can potentially deplete their savings. As it affects your overall estate, your children could end up with very little or even nothing as a result.
One of the biggest pros of setting up mirror wills is that it allows you to name a guardian for your children. This is important should both of you pass away. As this is an incredibly important thing to do, it allows the two of you to make your wishes crystal clear.
Another positive aspect of the mirror will is that it can give your partner a more secure level of support than he or she would have if you were not married and died without a will.
Also, particularly for married couples, mirror wills allow your family to be completely free of inheritance tax. Beneficiaries will not have to pay inheritance tax on any assets you pass to your spouse or civil partner. This can also help protect your family assets. Usually, there is an extra buffer of £100,000 to cover your property valuation before taxes. If the executor of the will follows your wishes, you can pass up to £850,000 to your children.
How to Obtain Mirror Wills
You can find templates you can download as pdfs and examples of mirror wills online. There are both free templates and others that have nominal fees. The ones you pay for are somewhat simpler to draw up and execute.
The simplest and easiest way to obtain a mirror will is, without a doubt, to consult a solicitor. Having your wills examined by a professional can ensure they are both legal and enforceable. A solicitor will also use the proper language to prevent loopholes and mistakes in the wills themselves.
Mirror Will Template
Final Words About Mirror Wills
If you trust your partner implicitly, mirror wills may be the most cost-effective way to protect your partner and/or your family’s future needs. You can expect to pay around £250 to hire a solicitor to draw up your documents.
You could use an online template for a lower price, and that might be perfectly suitable for your current needs. But the higher your income bracket, the more you need to protect your assets for the long term.
Last but not least, an increasing number of couples are from different countries. Should the two of you have assets in both, you will need to determine whether mirror wills are enforceable in each country.