A Will is a legally binding document that enables you to decide who you want to benefit from your estate, along with who you would like to look after your children and who you would like to manage the administration of your estate.
A Single Will is for an individual regardless of their marital status (the “single” element simply refers to the fact that it is for one person and one person only). You can read more about Single Wills Mirror Wills are two separate, identical wills, which are usually designed for a couple (married or unmarried).
What is a Mirror Will?
A Mirror Will is a legal document that allows a couple (married, civil partners or unmarried) to write down their wishes for when they pass away. Whilst similar, a Mirror Will is not a joint single Will but is actually two separate legal documents with similar contents.
Mirror Wills are for two people who have shared opinions on what should happen to their shared estate – as the name suggests, they “mirror” the other Will and reflect each other’s wishes in terms of beneficiaries, executors and guardians. Each partner usually becomes both sole beneficiary and sole executor to each other. It is important to add at least one extra executor and beneficiary when writing a Mirror Will, as this safeguards the estate in the event that both parties die together (as is the case in some severe road traffic accidents). The second executor and beneficiary can be the same person in both Wills i.e. you might decide to appoint one of your siblings to look after your affairs should you both die together. However, naming different guardians in each of the two Wills could lead to problems unless given considerable thought.
A Mirror Will allows a couple to decide:
- who should care for their children when both partners pass away (appointing guardians)
- who should benefit from receiving their joint estate, property and assets (appointing Beneficiaries)
- who should manage the administration of their Will and the distribution of their estate (appointing Executors)
preferences for the arrangements of their funeral and what happens to their body. This can be different for both partners (i.e. if they are to be buried, cremated, organs donated)
Who Should Make a Mirror Will?
Any couple that has the same wishes for their property, shares, property, family, children and administration of their Will can make a Mirror Will. A Mirror Will reflects the wishes of both partners and therefore both will need to have shared wishes about what happens to their estate when they die. A Mirror Will is essentially the same Will replicated for both partners.
If you and your partner have opposing views on what you would like to happen to your estate after you pass away, making a Single Will may be more suitable for you both.
Providing you are both in agreement, almost any couple is suitable to make a Mirror Will, regardless of their marital status – as long as they meet the UK legal requirements of being over 18 and of sound mind.