Monday 9 July 2012

What is a Mutual Will?

Making a Will in Hertfordshire, mutual Wills
A Mutual Will is when two or more testators (the legal name given to someone making a Will) make separate Wills or a Joint Will, and agree to give each other reciprocal benefits.  Alternatively, they can agree to confer benefits to the same named beneficiaries. 

For Wills to be mutual, there must be an express agreement between the two parties that both Wills will remain irrevocable and unaltered.  Normally, this agreement is incorporated into the Wills so as to avoid confusion and problems at a later date.

What is the effect of a mutual Will?
If one testator dies, and the deceased testator had not revoked or altered his Will then the surviving testator will be bound by the mutual Will.  They will hold the property and assets of the deceased person “in trust”.  If they try to revoke or alter their own Will, they would be committing fraud and a Court would be unlikely to grant permission for the change to be made. 

Are mutual Wills a good idea?
Mutual Wills restrict the freedom of a testator to deal with his or her property as they wish and for this reason I advise most of my clients not to make mutual Wills.  If tax laws or personal circumstances change there can be legitimate reasons for wishing to change your Will, and not being free to do so can cause problems within families.  

By discussing your concerns or queries with me, I can usually help you to find an alternative way of securing your wishes without the need for a mutual Will.   

If you have questions about your own questions or wish to make a Will telephone me on 01992 422128 or email

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Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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