Mutual wills are usually created by married couples or couples in an adult interdependent relationship (previously called common law). Mutual wills are based on the agreement of both partners that the surviving partner won't change their will after the other dies.
For a mutual will to be valid, both parties must have clear intent to create the same will, agree to the same distribution of their joint assets, and decide not to revoke the wills.
A mutual will may be helpful to in blended-family situations to ensure that children from different marriages are treated the same way and will continue to be treated the same way after the death of one of the parties.
Joint wills have the exact requirements as mutual wills. But with a joint will, there is only one will signed by both parties, whereas mutual wills are separate documents. A joint will makes a stronger case that both parties intended to create precisely the same will.
Mirror wills are similar to mutual wills. Each partner agrees to distribute their estate, except for specific gifts, to the surviving partner. When the surviving partner dies, or if both partners die simultaneously, the estate will go to their children in equal shares or, if there are no children, to other beneficiaries in equal shares.
With mirror wills, the partners acknowledge that the surviving partner has the right to change their will.
The prices on our Fee Schedule are for preparing simple mirror wills for couples. Once we have a clearer picture of your unique situation, we can provide a firm quote.
The Bottom Line
We do not recommend mutual wills or joint wills because, if they meet the requirements of clear intent and agreement, they are challenging to change after the death of one of the partners. If your spouse/partner dies and you change your mind about what to do with your estate, you may not be able to make the changes you want.