Wills and Probate

Mirror wills: Why legal loopholes are causing a surge in disputes

Why legal loopholes are causing a surge in disputes

A legal loophole in wills is becoming increasingly common – and people need to be prepared for it.

‘Mirror wills’ are causing more and more disputes.

This is where two partners sign identical wills, leaving everything to the other initially, with assets to be split between their named beneficiaries after the second dies.

Second marriages

Mirror wills are a popular option for couples in a second marriage but with children from a previous relationship.

This is because the couple may leave everything to one another and then to their respective children, equally allowing children from both partners to receive an equal share of assets once they have both passed away.

Legal loophole in mirror wills

However, a legal loophole means that the surviving spouse can now alter or completely rewrite a will after their partner dies, diverting the deceased’s assets with no comeback.

This could leave children or grandchildren expecting a share of their inheritance completely left out of a will that they believed they were a part of.

Anna Kerr, solicitor in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team said: “Issues with mirror wills are most common for those who are in second marriages, where each partner has children of their own.

“But with mirror wills, steps should be taken to consider what might happen should one die many years before the other.”

Steps you can take to ensure your assets go where they should

There are currently no restrictions on those who choose to alter their will after the death of their partner but you can take steps to ensure your assets don’t go where they shouldn’t.

One way is to create a life interest trust, to ring-fence an estate for the deceased’s children, but allowing the surviving spouse to continue living in your shared property until their death, when assets would pass to their children.

If you’d like help to create a will or trust, or need other advice on the subject, contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team on 01772 799 600.

Article by Anna Kerr, solicitor 


Latest News

Services for You

Services for Business

Get a Conveyance Quote

Need a quote for a residential conveyancing transaction? Try our quick and easy residential conveyancing calculator;

Pay your bill online

Easily pay your bill with us online through our payment portal. Secure and quick card payments through our payment provider World Pay.

Stay in Touch

Stay in touch and up to date with our new focus newsletter

    Man using a laptop to access Marsden Rawsthorn's website

    Contact Us

    Please complete the contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Office Addresses

    3-4 Faraday Court
    Faraday Drive,
    PR2 9NB
    Opening Hours: Monday - Friday:
    9:00am to 5:00pm
    Office 21a,
    Strawberry Fields Digital Hub,
    Euxton Lane,
    PR7 1PS
    Opening Hours: Monday - Friday:
    9:00am to 5:00pm