If you and your spouse have similar thoughts when it comes to the provisions of your estate plan, then you may want to each draft a mirror will. Continue reading to learn the circumstances in which you should draft a mirror will and how an experienced Putnam County wills attorney at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can guide you in the right direction.
How are mirror wills different than mutual wills?
First of all, mirror wills are typically executed by married couples, in which the contents of one spouse’s will “mirror” that of the other spouse. For example, each mirror will may state that the surviving spouse will inherit the deceased spouse’s entire estate. Or, if both spouses have passed on, each mirror will may state that their children will inherit their entire estate. And while mirror wills are commonly drafted by married couples, they may also be drafted between siblings, business partners, or long-term couples.
On the other hand, mutual wills are “mutually” binding. Meaning, one spouse cannot independently alter their will without consulting with the other spouse. For example, a mutual will may state that the surviving spouse will inherit the deceased spouse’s entire estate. However, to alter the provisions in any way, the surviving spouse will have to follow the agreement outlined in the mutual will.
Under what circumstances should I draft a mirror will?
When determining whether you and your spouse should draft a mirror will, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you and your spouse wish to have flexibility in editing the provision of your will, more than a mutual will can offer you?
- Do you and your spouse not have children to name as beneficiaries, so you wish to name each other as beneficiaries?
- Do you and your spouse have a complete agreement over how you want to your property to be distributed once you have passed on?
- Do you and your spouse have a complete agreement over who is to be appointed the guardian of your children once you have passed on?
If the answer to the above questions is a unanimous “yes,” then you may proceed forward. Though this may seem like it is always a sensible option, a mirror will is not beneficial for every married couple. That is, you and your spouse may want to forgo this option if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
- You and your spouse got married later on in life and you have more separate property than marital property.
- You and your spouse have a blended family and you have different children you wish to name as beneficiaries.
- You and your spouse have a complex relationship and you anticipate a divorce or separation in the future.
All in all, this decision may be made easier with sound legal advice from a skilled Putnam County estate planning attorney. Contact our firm as soon as you possibly can.