Mirror/Mutual and Joint Wills

by M-Gillies
Couple walking together with their reflection in mirrored glass window

With a joint or mirror will, couples decide how to mutually dispose of their property.

Reciprocal/Mirror/Mutual and Joint Wills are contracts between two spouses to dispose of their property in a particular way.

In the cases of mirror wills, which are designed by a couple who have designed their wills to be near identical, leaving, for example, everything to each other and thereafter to the children, or where there are no children, to a named beneficiary. These are created as separate legal documents unlike reciprocal, mutual or joint wills and are often called sweetheart wills.

However, with reciprocal, mutual or joint wills, these are created when spouses orally agree to make reciprocal wills, leaving their property to one another and upon the death of the survivor, to their children.

How this can be beneficial is when a couple is engaged in a blended family, joint and mutual wills prevent a surviving spouse who, for example, doesn’t get along with his or her stepchildren, from changing the will to disinherit them.

With joint and mutual wills, the two parties are legally agreeing to the terms of the will and are unable to revoke any previous wills upon the death of their spouse.

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