In the second of this two-part series (read part 1 of our Mirror Wills, Teressa McDonald, Head of Legal Services here at Active Wills, further demystifies emerging confusion around whether Mirror Wills are the right choice for couples …
Earlier this week, I mentioned that Active Wills had become aware of some questionable advice around Mirror Wills being shared by some solicitor practices. I stated that, whilst there were some circumstances where Mirror Wills were not the best-fit solution for couples, making Mirror Wills was still ideal for many couples. I explained what a Mirror Will is and made a promise that, should you buy your Mirror Wills online from us and tick the Legal Check option, one of our expert Will writers would confirm whether it was the best option and, if not, would provide a full refund, or two Single Wills for the price of two Mirror Wills, or a discount off a Protective Property Will Trust.
In this article, I explain in detail when and why a Mirror Will is not the right choice for a couple.
Some solicitors are advising against Mirror Wills because by their nature you leave everything to a partner and in doing so you are trusting your estate to them with the potential that during their lifetime it may be frittered away, given to people you would not have chosen, used up for care fees or passed on to a new spouse.
Whenever there is a chance that your views differ from your spouse or partner then a Mirror Will is probably not a good idea. Should you intend that your estate be divided in a specific way, and you believe that there is a chance that your spouse or partner would not see it through, then you should insist upon having an individual Will (aka a Single Will) that does not rely upon them making difficult decisions that may go against their wishes, or putting them in a position where they could be swayed by friends and family members to follow a different route.
In particular, for couples who have children from previous relationships, there are almost always difficulties that become enhanced and more emotive when one of the couple dies. As the ratio of blended marriages increases so do the number of Wills that are challenged and the number of claims against estates.
A Protective Will Property Trust (PWPT) is a set of three products that enable you to divide your property into two separate halves and then each of you can gift your half into a Trust whilst enabling the surviving partner/spouse to continue living there for the remainder of their lives.
This is especially useful where you would like to provide for children of a previous relationship. The added benefit is that it keeps your half away from your spouse's estate should they require long term residential care, as the assessment will only take into account the assets in their name and your half of the property will be in the Trust.
A Mutual Will is similar in all aspects to a Mirror Will in that the clauses and gifts are the same for both parties. However, with a Mutual Will there is an additional clause, which, in theory, creates a binding contract between the parties that they will not change the clauses within their Will once the other party dies.
This adds additional problems and is difficult to rely on. Anyone in England and Wales is entitled to rewrite their Will at any point up to their death and the surviving spouse's circumstances may change necessitating a revised Will.
If they were to re-marry, then their existing Will would be revoked automatically with the intestacy rules potentially handing everything to their new spouse.
Enforcing these types of Wills is almost impossible as it requires someone other than the spouses to be aware of the existence of the Will and then to make the claim to the Court to enforce it. If a new Will has been made then it may be almost impossible for someone to find out that the previous Will had such a clause.
If you have any further questions about online Wills, have a read of 5 Reasons to Buy Your Will Online, which covers a lot of the frequently asked questions about online Wills.
If you are single and want to make your Will online now;Start a Single Will
If you are in a relationship and want to make a Mirror Will online now - Start a Mirror Will
If you want to arrange a home visit - I would like a Home Visit
If you're still not sure what's right for you and would like advice from our customer services team - click the Chat Online Now button below
Copyright © 2021 ActiveWills Limited. All Rights Reserved.