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Simon Steele-Williams - Partner, Coles Miller

Mirror, Mirror On The Will...3rd Feb 2014

Smash a mirror and you’ll get seven years of bad luck.Simon Steele-Williams - Partner, Coles Miller

Smash a mirror will and the penalty could be much worse – a large legal bill and the loss of your inheritance.

One case involving a mirror will has just gone all the way to the Supreme Court.

Mirror wills are usually drafted for married or cohabiting couples: one person wanting to leave everything to the other (and vice versa) when they die.

Sounds simple and logical enough? So it should be. But in the aforementioned case the husband had accidentally signed the wife’s will and she had signed his.

This prompted huge amounts of legal wrangling over whether the wills were valid or not.

Common sense finally prevailed when the Supreme Court ruled that an obvious clerical error should not override the wishes of those who had made the wills.

There are a number of useful lessons to be learned:

  • Even supposedly simple mirror wills can be disputed. It pays to get expert advice from solicitors who have experience in contested wills litigation.
  • People are now prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court to contest a will if need be. In our experience, challenges to wills are now much more common than they were 20 years ago.
  • Prolonged litigation costs money. It is far better (and cheaper) to opt for mediation instead.

For further information on contested wills, please contact Coles Miller Partner Simon Steele-Williams, 01202 293226. Simon is an associate member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.