If you are considering drafting joint wills, an experienced legal service provider will help you to make the necessary arrangements and facilitate the appropriate legal documentation. Here is some basic guidance to help inform your choice of legal expert.
Mirror wills are multiple documents which are created with the same terms and conditions as each other. If you want to make changes to a mirror will or revoke your version of the will then you need the permission of your partner. A mirror will can be changed if one person dies.
A mutual will is a single document which records the wishes of 2 people, usually a husband and wife. The will would normally state that when one person dies, all of the assets will go the surviving person and, when this person dies, everything will go to the children.
Joint Wills ensure that all of the assets go to the surviving person. Joint Wills cannot be changed without the consent of both parties.
For Mutual Wills, this means that when the first person dies, the survivor cannot change the terms of the will. This can be beneficial, for example, if you want to make sure that your children will receive everything if the surviving person were to re-marry. For Mirror Wills this means that both partners know what will happen with their estate if one partner dies.
To amend Joint Wills, both parties must be present and in sound mind. As long as both partners are alive and in control of their affairs and mental faculties then one can not make a change without the other's consent and presence. A Mirror Will, however, can be changed once one partner has died whereas a Mutual Will cannot.
Joint Wills can usually be finalised within a short period of time depending on the complexity of your affairs. Amendments to Joint Wills should take less time. Your legal service provider will be able to advise you on the timescales involved.
When all of the parties to a Mutual Will have died, the property and assets will be shared out according to what is set out in the will. The same will happen for Mirror Wills assuming no changes were made to the will before the last partner died.
It is worth considering a number of factors when choosing a legal expert to assist you with your joint will. You may prefer a local firm you can meet with to discuss arrangements face-to-face, you may wish to check reviews and ratings from a firm’s existing clients and you may prefer to work with a firm based on cost.
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Many legal service providers offer a fixed fee service, while others may bill you on an hourly rate depending on how complex the will is.
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Draft Joint Wills