Mutual Will


Also found in: Legal.

Mutual Will

A will executed by a married or partnered couple. Under a mutual will, the surviving spouse is bound by the will's terms after the first spouse dies. In general, mutual wills exist to ensure that property is passed to children of the couple after both spouses die; for that reason, they are most useful if the surviving spouse remarries.
References in periodicals archive ?
In this respect, an agreement must be made between the spouses expressed in the wills that they have agreed to execute mutual wills as well as that they have agreed not to revoke them during their lifetime nor the surviving spouse after the death of the other.
In 2003, three years after the mutual wills were executed, Robert died.
The court reasoned that the existence of mutual wills gives rise to a presumption of a contract.
In an earlier case, the North Carolina Supreme Court recognized the general principle that a mutual will may be revoked, unless made in pursuance of a contract.
The principal part of the litigation focused on the right of Camilla Ranc, who survived her husband, to leave her property contrary to the mutual will. The Lord Chancellor clearly recognised that it was an important case: the Final Decree stated that his Lordship took time to consider it; (16) and it was one of only five written judgments that he left in his court books.
(35) An example of this was through the making of a mutual will as a consensual instrument.
(112) For example, where one testator revokes the mutual will in his or her lifetime, failing to leave the other an agreed interest in the property: Bigg [1990] 2 Qd R 11, 15 (McPherson J).
[It has been more than 200 years since the leading case on mutual wills was handed down in Dufour v Pereira.
Witnesses said that the sisters talked about their wills as if it was one will and had said when they died they wanted their estates split fairly and the High Court decided that the 1991 wills were Mutual Wills; Ethel's estate was distributed as if the 2003 will had not been made.
These cases show it is important to understand the difference between Mirror Wills (which can be changed) and Mutual Wills (which cannot).
A To be absolutely sure I would have to look at the terms of the will to ensure that they were not both made as "mutual wills" which bind both parents even after the first has died.
They executed mutual wills, both of which provided that, if a disclaimer was made by the decedent, the disclaimed portion of the estate would go into a trust.