Mirror wills vs “bloodline wills”
Date online: 28/02/2019
A client recently contacted us to ask about a “bloodline will”, having been told it was better than a standard mirror will. However, is it better and do you need to think about replacing your mirror will?
What is a mirror will?
Simply put, the term describes wills made by a couple, who have similar wishes for dealing with their combined estate on the second of their deaths. On the first of their deaths, most or all of their individual estates pass to each other.
Mirror wills are simple and relatively inexpensive, and work well for most couples.
Sometimes we will advise other options, especially if there are children from previous relationships. These may include giving them some of the estate on the first death, or including a life interest trust in the will (where the surviving spouse can be given a right to live in the matrimonial home, but each spouse decides where their half share of the home should go on the second death).
What is a “bloodline will”?
It is not a term we were familiar with until recently, and it is not an established legal term. In fact, it seems misleading, as it is used to describe a lifetime trust, which is not a will at all. It seems to fall into the same category as the trusts used by various companies which have in the past been known as “asset protection trusts” and “inheritance protection trusts”. These are not the same as a will.
Our thoughts on “bloodline wills”
Unfortunately there can be a tendency in the wider marketplace to sell “products” that promise all kinds of benefits, such as saving inheritance tax, care home fees, probate fees, etc. Sometimes sales of these products may play on fears that may not have much grounding in reality.* We do not deal in “products” and will only recommend to you legal arrangements that are right for you, taking into account your individual priorities and circumstances.
We do not recommend setting up a trust unless there are good reasons (for example, to provide for a disabled beneficiary). Trusts have their place, and can be a useful tool, but they have disadvantages as well. They generally involve some loss of control of your assets. They can be expensive to administer, and can generate tax paperwork and differing tax liabilities.
If you are wondering what to do, or are concerned about protecting your inheritance or reviewing your current wills, please get in touch with us: https://www.molesworths.com/contact-us
* For more information on problems in the will writing marketplace, please refer to the website of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners at https://www.step.org/research-reports
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.