In this blog, we’ll dive into the concept of a mirror will, exploring what it is, how it differs from a regular will, and why you might consider having one.
What Is a Mirror Will?
A mirror will, also known as a “mutual will” or “reciprocal will,” is a legal document created by two individuals, often a married or cohabitating couple. This type of will is distinct from a single will, which is typically created by an individual for the distribution of their assets after their passing. Instead, a mirror will involves two people, often a couple, making similar or identical provisions for their estates in the event of their deaths.
Key Features of a Mirror Will
- Simultaneous Provisions: In a mirror will, both individuals make provisions for their assets and how they should be distributed upon their passing. This means that the terms of the wills are essentially identical or closely mirror each other.
- Joint Decision-Making: A mirror will is typically created through joint decision-making, where both parties agree on the distribution of their combined assets. This can be particularly important for couples who wish to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their mutual wishes.
- Survivor’s Will: A common feature in mirror wills is the provision for what happens after the first person’s death. Usually, the surviving individual has the right to amend the will or make changes to it based on their current circumstances.
Differences Between Mirror Wills and Single Wills
- Number of Testators: The most apparent difference is that mirror wills involve two individuals, whereas single wills are created by one person. Single wills address the assets of an individual, while mirror wills address the assets of a couple.
- Mutual Provisions: Mirror wills contain mutual provisions made by both individuals, reflecting their combined wishes. Single wills, on the other hand, only express the wishes of the testator (the person creating the will).
- Survivor’s Rights: Mirror wills often grant the surviving individual the right to amend or create a new will after the first person’s death. Single wills do not inherently provide such a right unless explicitly stated.
Benefits of a Mirror Will
- Maintaining Mutual Wishes: A mirror will allows couples to ensure that their combined assets are distributed according to their shared wishes. This can help avoid disputes among family members and loved ones after their passing.
- Simplicity: Creating mirror wills can be a more straightforward process than coordinating separate single wills. This can reduce legal expenses and save time.
- Survivor’s Flexibility: The survivor’s right to amend the will after the first individual’s passing can be advantageous. It allows the survivor to adapt their estate plans to their current circumstances and needs.
In summary, a mirror will is a legal document created by a couple, typically spouses or cohabitating partners, where both individuals make similar or identical provisions for the distribution of their assets. While it shares some similarities with single wills, it is tailored to the needs and wishes of a couple, emphasizing the importance of maintaining mutual decisions. By understanding what a mirror will is and its benefits, couples can make informed decisions about their estate planning, ensuring that their assets are distributed as they desire and providing peace of mind for their loved ones.
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