Mirror Wills vs. Single Wills: Navigating the Waters of Legacy Planning
Deciding how to distribute your assets after your departure is no minor feat. Many folks opt to write a will online due to the ease and flexibility it offers. However, a key decision remains: Should you go for a mirror will or a single will? Both have their merits, but understanding the nuances of each can help you make an informed choice that best fits your circumstances.
Single Wills: A Solo Endeavour
Single wills are designed for an individual. Regardless of marital status, relationship situation, or family dynamics, a single will focuses solely on one person’s wishes regarding their assets, guardianship for children, and other personal directives.
Uniqueness: Ideal for individuals with distinct estate planning requirements that differ vastly from their partner’s.
Simplicity: Less complex than mirror wills, ensuring a straightforward asset distribution process.
Adaptability: Suitable for single individuals, those in complicated relationships, or those who want autonomy in decision-making.
Mirror Wills: A Unified Vision
Mirror wills are essentially twin wills, crafted mainly by couples, be it married, civil partnerships, or cohabiting. They almost mirror (hence the name) each other. Typically, in a mirror will, one partner leaves their estate to the other partner. Should both partners pass away simultaneously, predetermined beneficiaries like children or charities would inherit.
Consistency: Provides a seamless transition of assets to the surviving partner, ensuring they’re well taken care of.
Simplicity in Unison: Since the wills are almost identical, it streamlines the estate planning process for couples with similar wishes.
Economic: Often, drafting mirror wills is more cost-effective than creating two separate single wills.
Which One Should You Choose?
Your choice between single and mirror wills should reflect your personal circumstances and relationship dynamics. Here are a few things to consider:
Independence vs. Unity: If you and your partner have similar views on asset distribution, mirror wills can be a seamless solution. But if you both have differing opinions or unique circumstances like children from previous marriages, single wills might be the better route.
Cost Consideration: If you’re looking to save some pennies and have aligned views with your partner, mirror wills typically offer a more economical solution.
Future Changes: While it’s more straightforward to amend a single will, updating mirror wills requires both parties to be in agreement, ensuring consistency.