Definition: Mirror Wills

Mirror wills, also called reciprocal wills, are wills made by two testators (usually spouses, domestic partners, or significant others), where both wills have essentially identical terms. Mirror wills usually:

  • appoint the other testator as the personal representative;
  • appoint the same alternate personal representatives in case both testators die simultaneously;
  • leave all of the testator’s property to the other testator and name the same contingent beneficiaries in case both testators die simultaneously; and
  • appoint the same guardians and custodians for any minor children the testators have in common.

Mirror wills should not be confused with joint wills or mutual wills.

One important note about mirror wills that are not also mutual wills is that after the first testator dies, the surviving testator can revoke his or her mirror will and make a completely new will with new terms, contrary to the wishes of the deceased testator.