The Complete Guide to Mirror Wills

Last updated:

November 06, 2022

Verified by Lawhive solicitors

Overview

A Mirror Will is a pair of identical wills usually made by a married couple. Mirror Wills set out a couple’s shared wishes about what will happen to their property, money and belongings after their death.

What are Mirror Wills?

A Mirror Will is a pair of identical wills usually made by a married couple. Mirror Wills set out a couple’s shared wishes about what will happen to their property, money and belongings after their death.

It is common in Mirror Wills for one spouse to leave everything to the other spouse first and then to their children. This will be mirrored in the other spouse's Will: they will leave everything to the other spouse first and then to their children as well. This way, when one of them dies, the other is protected, and after they both die, everything will pass on to their children. Mirror Wills are popular amongst couples and solicitors for this reason.

The advantages of Mirror Wills

Cheaper By making a Mirror Will, you are essentially making two Wills for the price of one. Couples often get a discounted rate from solicitors to write Mirror Will documents because it is faster and easier than writing two separate Wills.

Flexible Unlike with another type of joint Will (Mutual Wills), a Mirror Will can be changed at any time by either person. Each person is free to change their Will without consulting the other.

Easy way to provide for your spouse and children The most popular Mirror Will arrangement is for both people to leave everything to the surviving spouse first and then to their children after they both die. This makes sure your spouse inherits everything and your children are also provided for.

The disadvantages of Mirror Wills:

They Rely on trust There is no legal obligation to keep a Mirror Will once your spouse has died. In some cases, the surviving spouse ignores their Mirror Will. This can result in children not receiving a share of their parent’s assets. It is possible for the assets of the spouse that passed away to end up with someone unrelated to them if the surviving spouse goes on to remarry. It is therefore important to fully trust your spouse if you want to make a Mirror Will.

You could feel pressured or controlled by your spouse You should be free to make your own decisions about what goes in your Will. In the case of Mirror Wills, if one spouse controls or pressures the other, there can be an issue of fairness.

Combines the wishes of two people Mirror Wills have to be general to reflect both people’s assets, because you can only leave something to someone in your Will if you own it. This isn’t a problem if your assets are almost the same as your spouse and if you and your spouse agree on where you want those assets to go.

Do I need a solicitor?

There is no need for a solicitor to write or witness any type of will. You can write a Mirror Will yourself. However, it is strongly recommended that you hire a solicitor or joint Will specialist. See below for details.

DIY Score:

2

/ 5

You'll likely need a solicitor for a mirror will

Solutions

Recommended

Write your own Mirror Will

Free
1 week

You can find Mirror Will templates for free (or for a significantly reduced price) online so it is possible to write your own. As with any Will, it must be written, signed and witnessed correctly. While this is a popular option it is still recommended that you seek legal advice first.

Professional Will Writers

Free
1 week

You can use a professional Will-writing service to help you write your Mirror Will. Professional will writers are not as well regulated and do not have the same expertise as solicitors.

Hire a Solicitor

£200 - £1000
1 week

It is best to get legal advice when writing any type of Will. Hiring a solicitor is the safest way to make sure your wishes are carried out after death. There are specialist solicitors trained in writing Wills. The benefit of using a solicitor is that they are expertly qualified and regulated but this can often be the most expensive option. Lawhive can find you a solicitor that specialises in Mirror Wills for a third of the cost of a high street law firm.

What steps are involved?

Step 1

Solicitor assessment

Your solicitor will first ask you about your assets because they need to know what to include in your Will. You will be asked to value your estate, this is a process of getting a list of all of your assets and property. You should also note down any debts or liabilities that you have. Your partner will have to do the same thing. It is recommended that you continue to get your property valued on a regular basis because this may change over time.

Step 2

Deciding on what to include in each Will

You and your partner will have to decide how your estate (your belongings and property) should be divided and who should inherit it. Your solicitor will need the personal details of everyone you want to give something to in your Wills.

Step 3

Choose your Executors

Next you choose executors. Executors are the people who will handle your affairs after you die. This role comes with a lot of responsibility, so it is recommended that you choose people you know and trust. You will have to give your solicitor their personal details as well.

Step 4

Writing the Wills

Your solicitor will write you and your partner identical Mirror Wills. Once you and your spouse are happy with how the Mirror Wills are written, you will both have to sign them in the presence of two independent witnesses. This is required in order to make the wills valid.

Step 5

What's Next?

Once the Mirror Wills have been written and signed, they can be stored at home or by a solicitor. You can change your Will at any time.

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Rating

4.8

Evidence and documentation

Evidence

  • Stocks / Shares Certificate (only relevant if you own any stocks/shares)

Documentation

  • Proof of identity for yourself, your partner and the people that will inherit your estate
  • Proof of income (e.g. a bank statement, an employment contract or proof of pension)

Cost

  • £15 if using an online template and writing yourself
  • £200 if using a solicitor or other will writer

Factors that effect cost

  • The complexity of the will
  • The value of everything you own

Time

  • Wills typically take as little as 1 week to write

Factors that effect time

  • The complexity of your wishes
  • The size of your estate

FAQs

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