What is a Mirror Will?

last will and testament

A mirror will is a will that couples can use when they agree on how their estate should be split up after they pass away. This type of will can be a good option for some couples, but it is not ideal for everyone. If you have questions about wills and need some guidance during the estate planning process, a Woodland Hills will attorney is ready to assist you.

How Does a Mirror Will Work?

A mirror will has to be agreed to by both spouses. No matter who passes away first, the estate and their belongings will be handled the exact same way. So there are essentially two wills that “mirror” each other combined into one document.

However, there are some ways that partners can individualize their will and what happens to some of their property if they pass away first. For example, a married couple can use a mirror will that says the surviving spouse gets everything when their partner passes away. However, there can also be stipulations that some of their things are passed down to certain people.

The spouse can inherit the lion’s share of the estate, but other people can also inherit things of monetary and sentimental value. So if you want to leave something specific to your children or someone else, you can still do that with a mirror will.

When Should I Use a Mirror Will?

The mirror will should only be used when both partners are in complete agreement as to how their property and assets should be distributed when they both have passed. If there is any disagreement, there is really no good way for a mirror will to work.

Mirror wills might also not be ideal for more complex family arrangements, like blended families where two partners got married later on in life. There can be too many complications, beneficiaries, or longstanding promises and expectations to contend with, making this type of will more trouble than it is worth.

Can I Name a Guardian for My Children in This Type of Will?

Yes, a mirror will does offer a mechanism to name guardians for your children. You can designate a guardian for your children who will be in charge of their care and all of their affairs, or you can nominate a guardian who would raise your children and a trustee to monitor their finances. This can be a good arrangement if you know someone who would make a good guardian, but not the best financial advisor.

Despite the nature of this will, you and your partner are not actually required to name the same guardian. You can pick two different people in your mirror will.

Get the Assistance of an Estate Planning Lawyer

Navigating this all on your own can be tough, so if you and your partner are ready to write your wills you should contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman. We can help you with all of your estate planning needs.

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