Mutual Wills: the technical requirements

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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:-

  • Mutual Wills 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 without everyone’s consent.
  • The agreement to make them must amount to a contractual relationship that the Wills shall be irrevocable. It is not enough simply for there to be a desire or an expectation of such, or even a common intention.
  • They should not be confused with mirror Wills. 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 Will agreement can apply to part only of the residuary estate and be written or oral.
  • The existence of the mutual Wills agreement must be evidenced clearly and satisfactorily.

If a dispute arises in connection with a mutual Will then it is important to seek specialist legal advice as the law governing this area is highly technical.

We offer free initial guidance on mutual Will disputes and contested Will cases. Give us a call on 0808 139 1606 or send us an email at [email protected]