Mirror or Couples Will User Notes
By using this Will Template, you leave everything to your spouse or partner (and vice versa) and appoint him or her as your executor. When the survivor of you dies, the estate then goes to alternative beneficiaries of your choosing – subject to any specific gifts and legacies you wish to make.
You can also use this will to appoint a guardian if you have any children under the age of 18 years.
Your name and address You must include your real name and all names by which you are commonly known. It is advisable to include your address unless it is a temporary address. Throughout this Will Template, you are referred to as ‘the Testator’.
Revocation clauses When you make a new will, any existing will or codicil is automatically revoked and is therefore invalid.
Executors The usual way is to appoint each other as your executor and sole beneficiary; and appoint a further executor in the event the survivor of you dies. You can appoint a single executor – but two is often preferred in case of relationship breakdown, or if a sole executor you have appointed dies before you. If a further executor is required following your death, someone else can be legally appointed.
Specific gifts Any specific gifts of personal items must be clearly described so they are easily identifiable after your death. If an item cannot be identified from your description the gift will ‘fail’ and fall into your residuary estate.
Trustees’ powers Your executors (also known as ‘personal representatives’) will also act as the trustees of your estate and have legal responsibilities in respect of administering your estate. They also have duties towards the beneficiaries.
Survivors sharing equally If, for example, you leave your residuary estate to three named people and one of them dies before you, the surviving two will share the residuary estate equally between them (subject to a ‘gift over’ clause).
‘Gift over’ clause A gift over clause means there is provision in your will to enable someone (or more than one person) to inherit your estate if your preferred beneficiary (for instance, your spouse or civil partner) does not survive you. It is important to think about who you would choose to inherit that share if your preferred beneficiary does not survive you – otherwise it will pass into your residuary estate.
Survivorship clause This is a common provision in a will which means a gift to the beneficiary is conditional (ie will only take effect) upon that person surviving the testator by a specific time period (usually 28 days). If the beneficiary dies within that period, the gift will pass into the residuary estate (or in accordance with any gift over clause – see above).
SIGNING AND EXECUTING YOUR WILL
It is very important that your will complies with certain legal formalities [inbound link] , to make sure it is legally valid. If your will is deemed to be invalid after your death because it was incorrectly executed when you signed the will, your estate will be distributed according to the statutory rules of intestacy [inbound link]. This means your property may not go to your preferred beneficiaries.
Signature The will must be signed by you or by someone else at your specific direction. Your signature might be your full signed name, or some other a mark such as a thumbprint or partial signature.
Witnesses Your signature must be ‘attested’. This means your signature must be affirmed to be genuine by at least two witnesses who must sign your will when you have done so. Your witnesses must either be physically present when you sign your will, or at some other time when you present them with the signed document and confirm that the signature is yours.
No witness must be a beneficiary under the will, or married to (or the civil partner of) a beneficiary under your will.