Mirror Wills Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Mirror Wills, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Mirror Wills?

(n) Mirror Wills are the term used to compare two separate wills executed by the spouses naming the other spouse as the executor

History and Meaning of Mirror Wills

Mirror Wills are a pair of wills executed by two people, usually spouses, in which each person's will is a mirror image of the other. Both spouses name each other as the executor of their estate and leave their assets to the same beneficiaries in the same way. This type of will is used when each spouse wants to support the other spouse and have similar wishes about how their assets are distributed after their death. Mirror wills are legally independent of each other, meaning that one spouse can change their will without the other spouse's consent or knowledge.

Examples of Mirror Wills

Example 1: John and Mary are a married couple who want to leave everything to each other when they die. They execute two wills that are nearly identical except for the name of the testator. If John dies first, Mary inherits everything, and vice versa.

Example 2: Sarah and David are a couple with children from previous marriages. They want to make sure that if one of them dies, the surviving spouse will continue to provide for their own children after their step-parent is gone. They execute two mirror wills that leave everything to the surviving spouse and then, after that person dies, to their respective children.

Example 3: Andrew and Lily have been married for a long time and don't have any children. They want to leave their assets to a charity they both support. They execute two wills that specify that their entire estate should be donated to that organization when they both have passed away.

Legal Terms Similar to Mirror Wills

Some related legal terms include "mutual wills," "reciprocal wills," and "joint wills." Mutual and reciprocal wills are similar to mirror wills, but typically involve a written agreement between the two parties to not revoke or change the will without the other party's consent. Joint wills, on the other hand, are a single document executed by both parties that governs how the assets will be distributed after both parties have passed. However, joint wills are generally not recommended because they are difficult to change and can cause legal problems for the surviving party.