Will writing: Single vs Mirror Will

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Writing a Will can feel like a minefield of legal jargon, confusing forms and things you really don’t want to think about. But, it shouldn’t be that way. Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at some of the most common phrases you may hear when discussing writing a Will. These short five-minute reads will arm you with the knowledge you need to feel confident in putting the best plans in place for you and your loved ones. This week… the difference between a Single or Mirror Will.

Single vs Mirror Wil

There are a few different types of Wills that you can write but, for most people, a simple Single or Mirror will be sufficient. A Single or Mirror Will takes care of the basics but, you can add in trusts to protect your share of jointly owned property, your children and/or vulnerable members of your family. But, we’ll tackle trusts in a later post.

So, what are the differences between a Single Will and a Mirror Will?

Single Will

This is a Will written by an individual to document their wishes, and how they would like their estate to be treated when they pass away. However, a single Will is not limited to single people. You can write a Single Will if you are in a relationship, married or in a civil partnership. In fact, if your partner already has a Will or their wishes differ to yours then a Single Will is your best option.

Mirror Will

A Mirror Will, or joint Will as some people may refer to it as – is a Will drawn up by a couple who’s wishes reflect i.e ‘mirror’ one another’s. Like this…

  • On first passing everything goes to the ‘sole beneficiary’ the surviving spouse or partner – bar any personal bequeaths, gifts of jewellery or sentimental items.
  • On second passing the estate is then distributed in accordance with the provisions detailed in the Will.

Two actual Wills are produced as, although the contents ‘MIRROR’ each other as we mention above, there is an opportunity to make some personal requests – normally surrounding funeral arrangements and any personal or sentimental items.

Executors in a Mirror Will

It’s always a good idea to include at least one other Executor as should there be a total wipeout (you both die at the same time!) then you’ll need someone to carry about the administration of your estate. This can be the same person in both Wills.

Pitfalls of a Mirror Will

There is an element of trust involved in writing a mirror Will. Why? Well…. Usually, on first death, the WHOLE estate passes to the surviving partner. They now own everything. So, say for example you die first, your surviving partner, (who now owns everything), can now change their Will, disposing of the assets as they wish. Potentially cutting out your family and leaves everything to the local cats home. Not ideal.  This could have particular significance if you have children from a previous marriage – they are at risk of sideways disinheritance. Or, should your surviving partner remarry and/or have children with someone else. You can, however, protect your share of the estate with various types of trusts, we’ll take a dive into trusts in our next post (spoiler, you can read more here in the meantime).

Summer Will writing offer

Currently, our Wills are just £99* that’s for Single or Mirror as unlike many of our competitors and Solicitors we do not charge extra for a Mirror Will. You can find everything you need to know about our current will writing offer here. Or, call today on 01322 664885 and discover how simple and affordable putting a Single or Mirror Will in place is.

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