Losing a spouse or partner can be very difficult, especially when it comes to dealing with financial and legal issues.
There are certain factors to consider when deciding to make a will or amending an existing one after losing your partner. One of these factors is whether you have a joint or mirror Will in operation.Below we discuss what a mirror will is and how it differs from a joint or mutual will, and outline how to go about changing a mirror will after death.
Joint Will vs. Mirror Will
A joint will – otherwise known as a mutual will – is made jointly between you and your partner and serves as a contract preventing either partner from changing it before and after the death of one party. This means the surviving spouse doesn’t have the freedom to change the distribution plan. In the case of a joint will, the surviving spouse can make gifts as long as they don’t undermine any agreements detailed in the will.
For this reason, many spouses make mirror wills detailing that upon their death everything will go to their partner, and likewise. These wills aren’t joint but include identical terms. The surviving spouse is at liberty to change their mirror will in any way they want.
Changing a Mirror Will After Death
Many surviving spouses choose to change their mirror will after the death of a partner. Be sure to carefully consider who you want to inherit money, property, and special items before changing your will. Other changes you may choose to make include:
- Appointing guardians for children under the age of 18.
- Structuring the Will to decrease the amount of inheritance tax payable (IHT) on estates.
- Determining the main beneficiary or executor of your will.
Tips To Consider When Changing Your Will
Remember to take your time when making changes to your will to avoid mistakes or misjudgements.
You need good ‘testament capacity’ to make a will, so it may be beneficial to wait until a significant amount of time has passed since your partner’s departure to prevent acting under the influence of grief.
Make sure that all changes you make are based on your own ideas to avoid being pressurised by other individuals.
Lastly, we recommend that you discuss your new will with a Solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive who can guide you through the whole process.
Image Source: Unsplash