Mutual Wills: A brief overview of the technical requirements

What is a mutual Will?

The courts have recently revisited the often controversial and misunderstood area of mutual Wills. It would therefore seem an ideal time to review the principles that are generally applicable, and consider the question, ‘What is a mutual Will?’

A mutual Will has a number of fundamental features. These include the following:

  • They are made by two (or more) people. They are usually drafted in similar terms and they confer reciprocal benefits.
  • They are made pursuant to an agreement between the parties to make Wills in those terms and, crucially, not to revoke them unless everyone consents to doing so.
  • The decision to make mutual Wills must amount to a contractual agreement that the Wills shall be irrevocable. It is not enough simply for there to be a desire or an expectation that they will not be revoked, or even a common intention.
  • They should not be confused with a mirror Will. Mirror Wills are extremely common among couples and the execution of mirror Wills shall not imply an agreement for mutual Wills.
  • It is not a requirement that the second testator obtains a personal benefit under the Will of the other testator.
  • A mutual Wills agreement can apply to part only of the residuary estate, and be either written or oral.
  • The existence of the mutual Wills agreement must be evidenced clearly and satisfactorily.

Because the principle behind this type of Will is that they should never be revoked, they often result in legal disputes arising, especially where there has been a change in circumstances. Our team of contentious probate lawyers are experienced in dealing with such disputes and can often work on a No Win, No Fee basis.

For further guidance please contact our free legal helpline for a case assessment on 0333 888 0407. Alternatively you can send us details by email.

Mutual Wills: A brief overview of the technical requirements

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