Basic mirror wills or Life interest mirror wills - what are the big differences?
You might think basic mirror wills are all you need and you could be right
but anyone who knows about wills will caution you about them. To make sure you're clear about what they do and don't do, you should take note of the information on this page. It takes just 2-3 minutes to find out if basic mirror wills work well for your situation. For most couples, the structure is outdated and doesn't work for them. This is especially true for blended families. Basic mirror wills are offered free and easy for a reason: The truth is, writing this type could cost your children everything.
The way you own your property matters!
If you're joint owners:
You do not have a share of your property.
It automatically belongs to the surviving joint owner and becomes theirs when you die.
They decide what happens beyond that point. They can write a new will.
If you're tenants-in-common:
You each have an individual share of the property (usually 50/50).
Your 50% share is yours and you can give it to who you like in your will.
You can also allow someone to live in the property without giving them ownership.
What is and isn't part of your will
a) Your will can only cover assets in your sole name. b) Anything in joint names is not part of your estate and will automatically belong to the surviving joint owner if you die. It becomes theirs.
We are living longer and in today's world, the two most common scenarios our clients have to seriously consider when writing wills are remarriage and paying care home fees.
We aren't giving up on love if we become widowed or divorced either and so remarriage has become a common occurrence - part of modern life.
Below you can compare the outcomes for basic mirror wills and life interest mirror wills
so that you have a clearer idea about your choices.
"I met with a married couple called Anna and Nick recently.
They have three adult sons.
This was something I sent to Anna to help her understand what each type of will achieves.
I hope it helps you too." ~ Cheryl, Founder
Example: in the absence of you, Anna:-
When you write basic mirror wills,
this is what happens:
If you die and leave everything to Nick, it is then his to do whatever he chooses.
You no longer have half of anything.
It all belongs to Nick.
He decides what happens to the assets he now owns.
He can write a new will.
Somewhere down the line, it is very likely that he'll write another because his situation has changed.
Scenario 1 - Nick remarries or cohabits.
If he writes another basic mirror will with a new partner, she may inherit everything.
Just like Nick did from you.
Yours and Nick's estates are now hers.
She can write a new will.
Scenario 2 - Nick goes into care.
Now that Nick owns the whole house, some or all of the equity is used to pay his care home fees.
Care home costs are currently around £65k per year.
Any money and also the equity in Nick's house will be used to pay for his care until his assets diminish to the baseline of around £23,250.
Then he would get financial support for his care home fees.
There could be very little left to leave your children.
Five years of care home fees is easily upwards of £300k and a lot more if the person needing care suffers with dementia or alzheimers. These conditions are heartbreaking and on the rise.
When you write life interest mirror wills,
this is what happens:
Instead of joint ownership, you and Nick become tenants-in-common so that each of you own an individual share of the marital home (usually 50/50).
You are now able to leave your 50% to your 3 sons while allowing Nick to carry on living in the marital home as normal.
Excluding your share of the marital home,
everything else you have would go to Nick.
Scenario 1 - Nick remarries or cohabits
Your 50% share of the marital home is safe and legally ring fenced for your 3 sons.
Nick would have the use of the property for his lifetime.
Nobody can force or throw him out.
Your 50% share of the home does not become part of Nick's will nor can it go to another woman or her family.
Nick can not spend your 50% share of the home but he is able to move it into another property for him to live in.
If Nick does move, your share of the home is still legally ring fenced and goes to your 3 sons after his death or goes into care.
Scenario 2 - Nick goes into care
He owns 50% of the marital home and only his share can be included for means testing and used to pay his care home fees.
Your 50% share is protected for your 3 sons.