When you and your partner discuss your estate plans, it can be overwhelming to consider all of your options, especially when there are a wealth of assets between the two of you. However, instead of creating two separate plans for your shared assets, you may want to invest in establishing a mirror will. Though this sounds complex, the process is simple. Keep reading to learn more about this process and discover how a Washtenaw County wills attorney can help you and your spouse prepare for the future.
How Does a Mirror Will Work?
A mirror will is an estate planning tool that allows two spouses or long-term partners to “mirror” or reflect their wishes. For example, one partner can leave the entirety of their estate to the other half in their will, and vice versa. This also allows you to ensure all marital property will go to the same secondary beneficiaries upon the passing of both partners. Secondary beneficiaries are those who will inherit the estate after both partners of a mirror will have passed.
For example, if Jane and John create a mirror will, they will both name each other as the primary beneficiaries, which means if John passes away, Jane will inherit his estate. However, both have agreed to name their two children as secondary beneficiaries. This means once Jane also passes, their children will receive the estate.
A mirror will also allow you and your partner to name a guardian for any children you share. This ensures you both agree on who will assume guardianship and responsibility for any minor children after you pass.
One common misconception is that two people must be married in order to create a mirror will. This is untrue, as long-term partners who share property and similar values can benefit from this option.
Why Do Many Consider This Option?
When thinking about partnerships and estate planning, many people are stuck between a mirror will and a joint will. As such, understanding the pros and cons of a mirror will versus a joint will can help you make the best decision.
If you create a joint will with your partner, it’s essential to understand that it becomes irrevocable once one partner passes. This means any new property or assets you accrue cannot be added to the will, as you cannot make modifications after one of the creators of a joint will has passed. Unfortunately, this can leave some assets unaccounted for in your estate plan. A mirror will, on the other hand, can be altered at any point.
However, if you and your partner were married later in life and have different wishes for your assets, a mirror will might not be the best option for you.
When you’re ready to start the estate planning process, understanding what your options are is essential. Luckily, at Collis, Griffor & Hendra, our legal team can help walk you through these options to help you make the most informed decision for your future. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through this process.