The Mirror Will explained – What is it? and how do you make one?

What does a Mirror Will mean?

A Mirror Will is actually two Wills, usually created by spouses or partners, that names each other as the main beneficiary, with each Will having a backup plan in case both partners are involved in a common accident. It is one of the most common approaches for couples when preparing their Last Will and Testament.

A Mirror Will is very different to a joint Will which is one document that serves the needs of two people. Joint Wills used to be popular many years ago, primarily as a time saving tool. It saved the Will writer having to type out two very similar Wills, when only the main beneficiary was different.

Joint Wills were also popular in a time when the patriarch of the family was considered to own the assets, and a wife was thought to not have an equal claim over the estate.

However, in modern times joint Wills are rarely used. Attitudes towards asset ownership, and the efficiency of Will writing software means that there is absolutely no advantage in preparing a joint Will. But there are many disadvantages.

The main disadvantage of a joint Will is that it creates confusion when one partner writes a new document revoking previous Wills, and it becomes unclear whether both parties are bound by the terms in the old joint document. In general, joint Wills should be avoided.

Mirror Will

What are the different types of Wills?

There are a few other variations on the joint Will or Mirror Will. A Mutual Will is a pair of Wills that a made after a legal agreement is put in place to dispose of combined assets in a certain way. What makes a Mutual Will unique is that neither can be revoked (or cancelled) without agreement from both partners. There are many resources online that describe a Mutual Will as the same as a Joint Will. This is incorrect. Mutual Wills are extremely unusual, and are rarely the best option. Typically one person makes a standard Will, and then contractually ties the second person into an irrevocable Will. It’s a legal challenge waiting to happen!

The term “Reciprocal Will” can also be used in place of either a mutual Will or a Mirror Will. A Reciprocal Will simply means that the two documents have been written to benefit each other. Continue reading

Review of UK Online Will services – your guide to the best.

Will writing options

Before the advent of online Will writing services there were two general approaches to writing a Will. Going to a solicitor, or writing your own Will on a piece of paper. These two approaches were diametrically opposite. A solicitor would be able to provide you with legal advice, and potentially write custom clauses in your Will, but the service would cost you several hundreds of pounds.

The option of going to a solicitor was not available to everybody either because of a lack of time, or an unwillingness to pay high fees to what was perceived to be a simple instruction. So many people attempted to write their own Will starting with a blank sheet of paper, and in general terms explain how they would want their estate to be distributed. The common belief was that writing at least something on a piece of paper, was better than dying without a Will.

Online Will services

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Planned Giving – Which charities are included in Wills?

“A note on Privacy: the protection and security of the documents created on our web site are of critical importance. In particular, we cannot access any information contained in a specific Will, nor can we read a person’s Will. However, we are able to access aggregated data from an encrypted database folder that summarizes the number of times particular choices have been made within our service. We cannot connect this information to individual accounts. It is this data that has been mined to provide the information on planned giving in this article”

At LegalWills.co.uk, we help thousands of people in the United Kingdom create their Last Will and Testament through our online Will service. A Will contains a lot of important information, such as who will receive your property when you pass on and who will be the guardians of your children, and it can also serve as a great way to give back to the charities you support upon your death. Leaving money or assets to a charity is called “planned giving,” – a service that LegalWills.co.uk offers for all its Wills. According the Charities Aid Foundation, “in terms of giving money to charity (either directly or through sponsorship of an individual), 70 per cent [of people in the UK] report doing so in the 12 months prior to interview [for the study], and 44 percent do so in a typical month.”

charitable bequests

This information evidently shows that charitable giving is an important part of the lives of many people, so we were interested in the level of “planned giving” going on in the United Kingdom. According to Russell James, the number of people aged 55+ with a charitable estate beneficiary hovers between 5% an 6%. Continue reading

An Executor for your Will – how to make the best appointment

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will

One of the most important estate planning decisions that you must think about is how to choose an executor for your Will. Surprisingly, many people do not give much thought to just how important an executor is. Often the task I given to a family member without much thought about whether that person is the best for the job.

An executor has a very important role. They will be in charge of administering your estate as efficiently and promptly as possible. It is a big responsibility to undertake. You really should give some serious thought about how you choose an executor for your Will.

What Does an Executor Do?

When choosing an executor for your Will it is important to realize what role means. The executor of a will has a number of important tasks: Continue reading

How do you choose an Executor for your Will?

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will

Are you struggling with the question of how to choose an Executor for your Will? The role of an Executor is a very important one. You need to make sure that you are making a wise decision. Your Executor will be trusted to take care of the administration of your estate after you die.It is a very important role. You really want to make the right decision when you choose an Executor for your Will.

Here are some questions that you should ask yourself when you are considering who to appoint as your Executor when you write your own Will.

What Does An Executor Actually Do?

It is important to understand what an Executor will actually have to do. This will help you to see if the people you have in mind for the job will be able to take on these tasks.  Put simply, the role of an Executor is to carry out the wishes of the deceased person and administer their estate. However, what exactly does this entail? It is very important to know what someone will have to do before you choose an Executor for your Will. Is your choice up to the task? Will they have time to carry out all the duties of an Executor? Continue reading

Holographic Will – clearing up some misconceptions

You may have come to the conclusion that writing your Will with a solicitor is too expensive. You have thought that maybe you could write your own Will. But when you google the topic, “writing your own Will” leads you to all kinds of conflicting information. Eventually, you find information about the holographic Will, and have become totally confused.

Please allow us to help.

Background to the misinformation

The main source of confusion is of course the Internet. The problem is that laws pertaining to holographic Wills vary quite dramatically from one country to another. If you post to a law forum, to Quora or to Reddit, the whole World will want to chip in with an answer. The problem is that an answer coming from Canada, or the US, or from India, will not apply to UK law.

Holographic Will

Here’s a great example. A question posted on uk.answers.yahoo

Hand-written Will. Is it Legal? Continue reading

Free Will Kits exposed – why they are the worst option.

“Why should I pay £24.95 for your service when there are free Will kits available everywhere?” . A reasonable enough question, so please allow us to explain.

In every high street in the UK we have seen a growth of the pound shop; Poundland, PoundWorld, Poundstretcher and just to shake it up; 99pLand.

But we all know that there are some things that you can buy with confidence from a pound store; notepads, desk organisers, colouring books, egg cups. And there are some things that you would probably think twice; smoke alarms, electricals, first aid supplies. I once saw a discount lifejacket in a pound shop. It didn’t feel right.

Product failure

So how can we establish the value of a Last Will and Testament, when what appears to be the same product is available for £1,000 from a top solicitor. But also a free download from a website. Continue reading

Want to write your own Will? 10 things to look out for.

Maybe a solicitor has quoted you a few hundred pounds to prepare your Will. Perhaps you are now considering whether you can write your own Will. You may be wondering “how hard can it be?”.

It’s entirely possible to write your own Will, but let us give you a few pointers.

Estate planning (the process of writing a Will) can be daunting. Many of us are prone to common, easily-avoided mistakes, if we get around to our Will at all. In fact, according to a report by the Legal services board, even solicitors who don’t specialise in estate planning frequently make mistakes with Wills.

The Law Society express concern that do-it-yourself Will services were eroding the Will writing business. They asked the government to protect Will writing. To make it a service that only solicitors can provide.

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How to make a Will – for somebody else…today

We get this question a lot “Can you let me know how to make a Will for my parents, or an elderly neighbour?”. You may have a friend or family member who needs a Will, but they are not very good with computers. You have heard horror stories about the blank DIY Will Kits and how they don’t produce quality final documents. Surely there must be another option.

Let’s be clear from the outset. The person that you intend to prepare the Will for must have testamentary capacity. It’s one thing for them to not like computers, but if they are struggling with a cognitive illness like dementia or Alzheimer’s, then this is a non-starter. The person must know that they are working with their Last Will and Testament, they must understand the contents of that document, and they must appreciate the implications of what they are signing.

We would also recommend steering away from this approach if you are planning on making yourself a beneficiary in the Will. Particularly if other people have an expectation that they will be beneficiaries, but are going to be disinherited. For example, if you are one of three siblings, and you want to help your elderly mother prepare her Will leaving everything to yourself, there is a good chance that the Will is going to be challenged and ultimately rejected by the courts. Likewise, if you are a care provider and planning to include yourself as a beneficiary, we would not recommend taking this approach. Continue reading

The Will kit: 20 ways that a blank form Will kit could lead to disaster

Why do I need to pay to create a Will using your service, when I can get a free one downloaded from the internet, or buy a blank Will kit from WHSmith for a couple of pounds.

We get this question a lot, and it is sometimes difficult for people to fully understand the difference between using an online Will writing services like the one at LegalWills.co.uk compared to using a blank Will kit.

To illustrate the difference, we have highlighted just 20 ways in which using a blank Will kit can lead to a disaster. Because, ironically, the simpler the Will kit, the more difficult it is to write a well drafted Will. You may find it interesting that these were culled from an initial list of 45!!

1. You don’t check where the Will kit came from and who created it.

Blank Will Kit

Before you download a free Will kit template, stop and think about who actually prepared the template. Nowadays anybody can set up a professional looking legal website for free using WordPress in about 2 hours. Continue reading

Will writing: the regulation of the profession.

There has been a great deal of discussion recently regarding the regulating of Will writing as a profession. On first glance it would seem strange that anybody can simply call themselves a “Will writer” and offer their services to prepare people’s Wills. So much so that the industry became quite competitive and aggressive, and we started to get accosted Continue reading

Can you use a sample Will to write your own Will?

Most people know that they need a Will, but many are put off by the cost of going to a solicitor, and the inconvenience of booking an appointment. Unfortunately, this leads people to resort to some poorly judged approaches to preparing their own Will – we are often asked if we can provide somebody with a sample Will, from which they can draft their own Last Will and Testament.

Sample Will

There are a few steps to this process and trouble at each step of the way;

Locating a sample Will

For the people who don’t contact us asking for a sample Will, most will simply Google the search term “sample Will” in the hope that they can find a template Continue reading

12 reasons to use an Online Will service instead of a DIY Will Kit

I’d like to start by defining some terms. An Online Will service allows you to step through an interactive interview on the internet, at the end of which a document is generated. This document should then be printed and signed in the presence of two witnesses to create a legal Last Will and Testament. There is no such thing as an “online Will” – any digitally stored or scanned document is not legally admissible to probate. A document created through an online Will service still needs to be printed and signed to make it legal.

A DIY Will Kit is a blank form kit that you might buy from Amazon, or WHSmiths. It is generally a form with some typed clauses and white spaces for you to handwrite your details. They sometimes come with a disk that lets you type in your answers.

This image is from a genuine Will kit that we purchased for £10 from a Continue reading