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Great interaction. I had a simple question which would have cost a fortune going to see a local solicitor. It was all very professional but still friendly. The solicitor I spoke to was the chief executive of her law firm (I looked her up on LinkedIn). You are dealing with very good lawyers who earn additional money through Lawhive. I would definitely use this service again. Highly recommend.
Mark,
29 December, 23
The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
Very simple to engage with instant confirmation in writing straight after. Daniel, the solicitor who was appointed to me, was outstanding in his approach, his understanding of the technicalities of the law and, crucially, a genuine care for the client. Would definitely advise using Lawhive, you won't regret it.
Tahir Idris,
04 October, 23
We were so pleased to find the Lawhive website
After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
Julie Taylor,
01 June, 23
Fast and professional
I got the outcome I wanted regarding cease and desist to a competitor spreading defamatory statements about my business. Fast and professional, and at a much lower price than high street firms. Highly recommended thanks.
Jason Hunter,
23 July, 23
Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
Pauline Piper,
15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
Jamie Crichton,
09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
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About

A Mirror Will is a will that is written to mirror the terms of a previous will. This is done to ensure that the terms of the previous will are upheld in the event that the previous will is found to be invalid. Solicitors can ensure that the Mirror Will is written correctly and that it is valid.Next steps

How much does a Mirror Will cost?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to help with a Mirror Will is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £80-£150 but in some cases it could cost as much as £300.

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There’s no time like the present to start thinking about creating a will. Whilst it can often be deemed as a morbid subject, a will absolutely ensures that your estate, and assets fall into the right hands when you die. And most importantly, your loved ones are looked after. 

So what if you could create a will that mirrors your partners to streamline the whole process? Well the good news is, you can, and that’s where a mirror will comes in. 

mirror-will

In this guide, we will cover the main aspects of a mirror will, including who they might be right for, the differences between a mirror will and other types of will, and how you can get legal support to complete your mirror will as soon as possible. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall - let’s go!

What is a mirror will?

A mirror will is a specific type of will commonly used by couples, typically spouses or civil partners. The term "mirror" is used because the wills of one partner mirror or reflect the other, often with nearly identical or similar provisions and wishes.

For example, you would both create separate wills, and they would contain similar or identical provisions for after you die. You may both name your primary beneficiary as one another, leaving your assets to the surviving partner first. You would then name your children, people or organisations as secondary beneficiaries. 

It is likely that your will mirrors the same beneficiaries - people  or entities who you wish to inherit the remainder of your estate after specific gifts and assets are distributed. 

Some mirror wills may also include trusts, especially if you have shared assets and wishes. Trusts can be established to provide for the surviving partner during their lifetime and then pass assets to other beneficiaries.

Mirror wills are of course very convenient for you and your partner if you share similar wishes regarding what happens to your assets when you die, however it is worth remembering that they are still individual legal documents. Both yours’ and your partner’s will is independent, and you can both make changes to your own wills without the need for your partner's consent.

Who should make a mirror will?

A mirror will is a fantastic option if you are a couple, typically spouses or civil partners, and you have similar wishes in regards to your assets. 

You may consider a mirror will particularly if:

  • You are a couple with shared wishes: If you both want to leave your assets to each other and then to the same set of beneficiaries (such as children), mirror wilsl can be a straightforward way to document these shared intentions.

  • You live together and have joint assets: If you both share a common residency and have joint assets, including things like the family home; bank accounts; investments; or other jointly owned property.

  • You both agree on mutual appointments and guardianship: If both of you wish to appoint each other as executors of your respective estates and have similar preferences for guardianship of minor children, mirror wills can be used to formalise these. 

  • You want to simplify estate planning: Mirror wills can simplify the estate planning process if you have straightforward wishes. By creating mirror wills, each partner can have a clear understanding of how the other's estate will be distributed, which can bring peace of mind.

Before creating a mirror will or any type of will, it's advisable for you to seek legal advice. A solicitor can help you ensure that the will accurately reflect yours’ and your partner’s wishes and comply with legal requirements. Additionally, periodic reviews of wills are recommended to account for any changes in circumstances.

The benefits of a mirror will

A mirror will is beneficial to both you and your partner for a number of reasons. Mirror wills align both yours’ and your partner’s wishes after you die, which provides real clarity and understanding by everyone involved. A mirror will also allows you to appoint each other as executors of your wills, removing the responsibility from somebody else. 

Streamlining the estate planning process for you and your partner when you have similar goals is a popular benefit. Since your wills will often be very similar or identical, drafting and reviewing the documents can be more speedy and efficient.

Creating mirror wills for both you and your partner at the same time may result in cost savings compared to creating separate wills at different times. You may be able to negotiate a reduced fee with a solicitor for the drafting and execution of two wills. That’s a win, win!

Importantly, a mirror will promotes consistency in estate planning -there is less chance of misunderstandings or conflicts arising over differing provisions. This will prove useful now and in the future. 

The drawbacks of a mirror will

A mirror will is designed to reflect your partner’s will closely, which means that it may lack flexibility and feel quite rigid. Circumstances can often change for one partner, such as a change in assets, beneficiaries, or wishes, and when this happens the mirror wills may need to be amended or replaced, potentially leading to additional legal costs.

You may also think that yours’ and your partner’s wishes are the same before embarking on the completion of mirror wills, however there could still be potential for conflict if there is any ambiguity or disagreement that crops up along the way. This will not only make things more difficult in completing the will, but also between you and your partner emotionally. Clear communication and legal advice can help mitigate this risk if you do have any initial concerns this could happen. 

When completing a mirror will, you will often have to attend mutual appointments with your executors and guardians. While this can simplify the process, it may lack flexibility if your partner has differing views on who should fulfil these roles in the event of your death.

Although you may not want to think of this scenario just yet, the survivor in a mirror will arrangement needs to carefully consider the implications of the wishes, especially if there are children or other beneficiaries involved. The surviving partner may need to update their will to reflect new circumstances.

We must also remember that a will is a personal document of your wishes for after you die. Mirror wills, by their nature, involve close coordination between you and your partner, making it less personal. You may prefer a greater degree of independence in making decisions about your estate and in such cases, separate wills might be more appropriate for you. 

Mirror wills vs standard wills

Both mirror wills and standard wills serve the purpose of outlining how your individual estate and worldly possessions should be distributed after your death. However, there are key differences between the two types of wills, and the choice between them depends on your specific circumstances and preferences, as well as your partners. 

Let’s look at a comparison of mirror wills and standard wills if you are struggling to decide what might be best for you:

Mirror Wills:

  1. Designed for Couples - Mirror wills are specifically designed for couples, often spouses or civil partners, who have very similar or identical wishes regarding the distribution of their assets.

  2. Similar Content - The content of mirror wills is usually very similar, if not identical. Each partner's will typically mirrors the other's in terms of beneficiaries, executors, and other key provisions.

  3. Mutual Appointments - Mirror wills often involve the mutual appointment of executors and guardians. Each partner appoints the other as an executor and may name the same guardians for any minor children.

  4. Common Residency and Assets - Mirror wills are suitable for couples who share common residency and joint assets. The wills may address the passing of assets from one partner to the other and then to specified beneficiaries.

  5. Equality in Distribution - Mirror wills can help ensure equality in the distribution of assets among beneficiaries, especially when there are shared beneficiaries such as children.

Standard Wills:

  1. Individual Flexibility - Standard wills provide individual flexibility for each person to express their unique wishes. This is particularly relevant when individuals have different preferences or circumstances.

  2. Applicable to Individuals - Standard wills are suitable for individuals who may not have a partner or who prefer to create a will that reflects their individual wishes without mirroring another person's provisions.

  3. Tailored to Specific Needs - Individuals can tailor a standard will to address specific concerns, such as bequests to specific individuals, charitable donations, and detailed instructions regarding the distribution of assets.

  4. Separate Legal Documents - Standard wills are independent legal documents. Changes to one person's will do not automatically affect the other, providing more individual autonomy.

  5. Flexibility in Appointments - Each individual can choose their own executors and guardians without the need for mutual agreement. This offers more flexibility in addressing individual preferences and circumstances.

Both mirror wills and standard wills should be reviewed and updated as circumstances change, such as changes in family structure, finances, or wishes.

Regardless of the type of will chosen, seeking legal advice is crucial to ensure that the document accurately reflects yours’ and your partner’s wishes and complies with legal requirements.

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What is the difference between a mirror will and a mutual will?

Mirror wills and mutual wills are very similar, however have one very distinct difference. 

mirror-will-1

As we know, a mirror will allows you to modify or revoke your own will without the need for your partner’s consent, both before and after their death. This gives you autonomy and independence in your will. 

Mutual wills, on the other hand, involve a joint agreement and commitment between you and your partner not to revoke or amend your wills without the other's consent.

As well as this, a mutual will may include a contractual element, creating an obligation not to change the will if your partner dies first. This means that as the surviving partner, you are bound by the terms of the mutual will and restricted in making any changes. If you did attempt to change it, you could face legal consequences. 

How much does a mirror will cost?

According to Help and Advice, the average cost for a will in England and Wales, in 2023, varied between £250 and £750. The cost will vary based on your specific circumstances, solicitors fees and in some cases geographic location. 

If you choose to work with a solicitor to draft your mirror wills, the cost will typically include the solicitor's fees. Solicitors may charge based on hourly rates or offer fixed fees for specific services. The complexity of your financial and family situation can influence the overall cost.

The cost of mirror wills may also depend on any additional services you request, such as advice on estate planning, inheritance tax planning, or the creation of trusts.

It's important to note that while online will-writing services may be more affordable than hiring a solicitor, they may not provide the same level of personalised advice and expertise. Solicitors are trained legal professionals who can offer guidance based on your specific circumstances, potentially helping to avoid errors or oversights that could lead to complications later.

Can a mirror will be changed after one spouse dies?

Yes, after one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is typically free to make changes to their own will, including a mirror will.

Remember, mirror wills are separate legal documents for both you and your partner respectively, and the death of your partner does not automatically restrict you from modifying your own will. You retain the ability to update, amend, or revoke your own will based on your changing circumstances, preferences, or wishes.

Disputes are on the rise when it comes to mirror wills as in a number of cases, the surviving spouse is altering or revoking their will after their partner’s death, diverting the partner’s assets with no legal comeuppance. 

This could negatively affect those family members or people that believed they were part of the will and in line to receive gifts or assets, leaving everybody emotionally charged and in many cases bereft. 

Whilst there are no legal restrictions or repercussions on people who decide to take this course of action after their partner dies, there are things you can do to make sure your assets don’t go somewhere you don’t want them to. 

By creating a life interest trust, you will ring-fence your estate for your children, but allow your surviving spouse to continue living in your shared property until their death, when assets would pass to their children. Whilst it could be a difficult conversation to be had, it ensures absolute clarity in your wishes when you have gone. 

How do charitable gifts work in mirror wills?

Charitable gifts in mirror wills involve leaving a portion of your estate or specific assets to a charitable organisation, as agreed by you and your partner. 

When creating your mirror wills, you should discuss and agree upon your shared charitable intentions. This may involve choosing a specific charity, cause, or type of charitable organisation you want to support.

In each mirror will, a provision will be included to specify the charitable gift. This can be a fixed amount, a percentage of the estate, or particular assets designated for the charitable organisation.

The will should clearly identify the charitable organisation as the beneficiary of the gift. It's essential to include the charity's full legal name, registered charity number (if applicable), and any other necessary details to avoid confusion.

To account for the possibility that the chosen charitable organisation may cease to exist or change its mission, the wills may include provisions for alternative beneficiaries, ensuring that the charitable intent is fulfilled even if the original choice is not feasible.

Charitable gifts in wills may have tax implications. In the UK, if at least 10% of the taxable estate is left to charity, the estate may qualify for a reduced rate of inheritance tax. You should consult with a tax professional or solicitor to understand the tax implications of your charitable gifts.

Mirror will writing from Lawhive

If you and your partner feel you are ready to create a mirror will or any other type of will to ensure your wishes and assets are protected after you die, contact us today for a free, no obligation quote and case assessment. 

Here at Lawhive, we offer:

  • An initial 30 minute telephone or video consultation 

  • Legal advice on different types of trusts in wills and which is suitable for you 

  • Explanation of the implications a trust may have on the interests of beneficiaries 

  • Mirror will drafting + one round of revisions.

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