By definition, a "Simple Will" is a Will that leaves the person's entire estate to their spouse or to their children, equally, without a trust. In other words, wording such as "to my spouse or if my spouse fails to survive me to my children, equally" is a "Simple Will".
Simple Will / Simple Mirror Will
You can either make an individual Will or you can make a Mirror Will with your spouse/partner. A Mirror Will is where each partner agrees to distribute his or her estate (except for special gifts) to their surviving spouse/partner. If the surviving spouse/partner dies or you and your spouse/partner die together then the estate will pass to your children in equal shares or if there is no children to other beneficiaries in equal shares. When a Mirror Will is made, the makers of these Wills acknowledge that the surviving spouse/partner has the right to change his or her Will.
With a Simple Will/Mirror Will the following will apply:
- If you have a spouse or partner your entire estate is left to them
- If you have no spouse or partner your enquire estate is left to your children in equal shares
- If you do not have a spouse, partner or children your entire estate is left to another individual or organisation or a group of individuals or organisations in equal shares.
- A legacy to a charity can be included in your Simple Will/Mirror Will
What stops a Will / Mirror from being a Simple Will?
There are a number of factors that precludes the Will/Mirror Will from being a Simple Will, these include:
- You are in a second marriage or partnership with possible disagreement over the treatment of your children from previous marriage(s).
- You have dependents or children that have disabilities and therefore complex instructions are required for their care
- You have a complex estate that includes multiple properties, businesses, property abroad etc,
- Your estate at the time of making your Will is worth more than £325,000 or is likely to be worth more than £325,000 at the time of your death (£650,000 if you are a married couple)
- You want to leave gifts or legacies to more than a few beneficiaries or not in equal shares (i.e. property or cash)
- You have children that you do not support.
- You want to disinherit a close family member
- Appointing a guardian for your children may preclude your Will from being a Simple Will dependent on the complexity of any trusts that need to be arranged.
- Leaving someone a lifetime interest in your property.