What is often referred to as a “mutual Will” is in fact a legally binding agreement between two parties providing that neither party will revoke his or her Will without the consent of the other. The Wills referred to in the agreement are often (but not necessarily) made at the same time as the agreement.
A Mutual Will Agreement becomes irrevocable on the death or incapacity of the first party.
If a party revokes their Will in breach of the agreement, the aggrieved beneficiaries can bring a claim to enforce the contract. The beneficiaries of a Will covered by a Mutual Will Agreement must be aware of its existence in order to enforce the agreement in circumstances where it is breached by one party.
Mutual Will Agreements are often considered by spouses or de facto partners where one or both parties has children from an earlier relationship. The parties may wish to leave the whole estate to the surviving partner on the proviso that, in due course, the survivor leaves the estate (or part of it) to the children.
Mutual Will Agreements are complex and are therefore costly to prepare. They may be inflexible and must be drafted carefully to minimise the risk of dispute and to take account of changes in the parties’ needs or circumstances; for example, if one party remarries, has children or acquires assets independently.
If you would like advice about a Mutual Will Agreement please contact usto arrange an estate planning consultation. Following the consultation we will give you a quote for any further services you require.