Thinking about who to appoint your assets and estate to can feel like an overwhelming process. But not drafting a Will can be more costly and become a headache for your family. Shockingly, only half of Canadian adults (51%) have a Will.
Taking the time to create a Will is one of the best gifts you can leave to your family. It is a way for you to take care of your loved ones one final time.
What is a Mirror Will?
A Mirror Will is actually two Wills, made to look identical to each other. The only difference is the name of the primary beneficiary, which is typically the partner of each testator.
In a Mirror Will, each partner agrees to leave their estate to the surviving partner. An exception is any specific gifts or donations to a charity one may wish to include in their Will. Each Will also contains an alternative plan if both partners are involved in an accident and pass away (for example, a severe motor vehicle collision).
In most cases, the estate will be distributed to the surviving children, or, if there are no children, other beneficiaries in equal shares.
With a Mirror Will, one partner may choose to update their Will at any time in the future. Changes to one Will does not mean identical changes automatically completed to the other partner’s Will. Although these Wills are typically created at the same time, they are still considered two independent documents.
In addition, both partners acknowledge that the surviving partner has the right to change his or her Will. This may be something you want to consider if you fear that your partner may one day update the Will and prevent your children from inheriting anything. An example of this is if they choose to leave the estate to their new partner instead.
To address the risk of children being disinherited from an estate, you may want to consider creating a Mutual Will. A Mutual Will is two Wills with a legal contract prohibiting changes made to the Wills by a surviving partner. Though not quite as common, this is still an option for Albertans.
Do I Need A Will?
Yes! Every Canadian adult should have a Will, regardless if you think your estate is large enough or not. Planning for your future is one of the best investments you can make for yourself and your family, and it’s best to write a Will while you are healthy and able to.
Because we believe this to be true, we are now offering Mirrored Wills at our firm. Our Mirrored Wills include a Will, Personal Directive and Power of Attorney for each member of a couple.