Mirror Wills are wills usually made by couples (married or unmarried) that ‘mirror’ each other. They are different from identical wills in that identical wills are exactly identical to each other e.g. the same person may be appointed executor in each identical Will.
With mirror wills each will may follow the same ‘pattern’ except like in a mirror each mirror will ‘reflects’ the other. So a husband’s Will may appoint the wife as the executor but in the wife’s Will it is the husband that is appointed the executor.
Most common form of Mirror Wills
The most common mirror wills are Wills made by a husband and wife where in the husband’s Will the wife is appointed as executor and the husband leaves everything to his wife. Then in the wife’s Will she appoints her husband as executor and leaves everything to her husband.
Both the husband and the wife’s Will may go on to say that in the event the other spouse dies first then the surviving spouse’s entire estate is left to their children equally (that is this part of the mirror Wills is identical).
Importance of both spouses making their Wills
So if a wife makes her will but her husband does not make a Will what happens to the wife’s estate will largely depend on who passes away first.
If the husband passes away first then the wife’s Will ends up determining what happens.
However, if the wife passes away 1st and her will leaves everything to her husband and he does not have a will when he passes away his estate will end up being distributed under the rules of intestacy.
So always remember that making your Will is not enough unless you ensure your spouse also makes a Will.
20 Sept 2020