Mutual Wills Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Mutual Wills?

In the court of law where will are considers, the mutual wills are the wills from a different persons, generally the spouses or partners, who have cerated their own signed wills in which they both have declared identical distribution/disposition of their estates. One set of will is signed by the husband and other by the wife or partner. In differs from joint wills where boit the partners have deceded on the same distribution of the will but there is just one set of document which is jointly signed by both.

History and Meaning of Mutual Wills

Mutual wills are historically significant in the context of property laws in England. In the past, it was common for couples to draft mutual wills to ensure that their property would pass to each other in trust, and subsequently to their children. Essentially, mutual wills are two or more separate wills, which mirror each other, and contain an agreement between the will-makers not to revoke or alter the provisions without the others’ consent.

Examples of Mutual Wills

  1. A couple creates mutual wills where each spouse leaves their entire estate to the other upon death, and upon the death of the surviving spouse, the estate passes on to their children equally.
  2. Two unmarried partners living together decide to create mutual wills, leaving their respective estates to each other, and then to their chosen beneficiaries.
  3. A pair of business partners creates mutual wills that provide for the transfer of their business to a trust for the benefit of their employees after their deaths.

Legal Terms Similar to Mutual Wills

  1. Joint Wills - Joint wills are wills made by more than one person, which generally includes an agreement between the makers that neither will change the terms of the will without the other's consent.
  2. Testamentary Trusts - A testamentary trust is a trust established in a person's will, becoming operative only upon their death, for the benefit of their chosen beneficiaries.
  3. Intestate Succession - Intestate succession refers to the laws that dictate who inherits an estate when the deceased does not have a will.