Divorce and Wills 101 – What are the Different Types of Wills Available?

Divorce and Wills 101 - What are the different types of Wills available
Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith
Head of Family Law
at K J Smith

When most people think about Wills, it’s usually the more traditional Will that is created for the purpose of ensuring that their estate and assets are treated and/or shared appropriately when an individual passes away.

There are however, several different types of Wills that people should be aware about as it can benefit them in many different ways, before and after death.

So here’s a useful breakdown of the different types of Wills.

Mirror Wills

A Mirror Will is similar to that of a normal Will, however a Mirror Will involves your other half in which you both create a will that shares the same wishes in the Will, hence it mirrors.

This type of Will can provide couples (married or not) with some reassurance that should the other person pass away, their assets and belongings will be passed on to their spouse. When the individuals both pass away, the Mirror Will allows for their belongings to be inherited by their children.

Key features about Mirror Wills

  • A Mirror Will can be changed and updated at any time, even after the death of one of the couple; the other person is still able to change their Mirror Will to suit their new circumstances.
  • Upon the first persons’ death, everything that is left to the other spouse will be exempt of Inheritance tax.
  • If your children are under the age of 18, you can add a ‘Guardian Clause’ to the Mirror Will which acts as an indication to the courts, of who you like to look after your children upon the death of the parents.

Living Wills

A Living Will is quite different to that of a traditional Will as the purpose of this Will is include details of medical treatments an individual does and does not wish to receive should they become subject to a life altering disease or injury which prevents them from making decisions by themselves.

There are quite a few aspects of Living Wills that has to be achieved in order for it to be ‘valid’ and ‘applicable’ both of these requirements have to be met in order for the Living Will to be deemed legally binding.

Key features about Living Wills

  • To ensure your Living Will is first valid, you must be 18 or older, have mental capacity and have complete understanding of the types of treatment (even life sustaining) that you are choosing NOT to receive and the possible consequences – regardless of whether other people agree or not.
  • Reviewing your Living Will on a regular basis is incredibly important to ensure you still agree with the statements you first once made and treatments you have denied to receive.
  • A Living Will only becomes ‘applicable’ when the specified conditions have been met, that are included within your Living Will. This could be, if you have a stroke, heart attack or no longer have mental capacity.

Create a Will from the comfort of your home

The current pandemic has caused all types of panic and mayhem and one thing that has never been more important is actually creating a Will. Unfortunately a huge 60% of people in the UK do not have a Will and this can cause disagreements within families.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, especially people who are considered vulnerable, some Family Law Firms have created a new process which allows for individuals to create a Will from the comfort of their home.

Known as Window Witnessing your Will, this new concept allows for the person creating the Will and their chosen witnesses to come together, in a socially distanced fashion to sign the Will.

Click here for more articles by Kerry Smith

Author Bio

Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors. K J Smith Solicitors are experienced family solicitors in the Thames Valley area specialising in family mediation, Wills and divorce and separation.


Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

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