mutual wills

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mutual wills

n. wills made by two people (usually spouses, but could be "partners") in which each gives his/her estate to the other, or with dispositions they both agree upon. A later change by either party is valid unless it can be proved that there was a contract in which each made his/her will in the consideration for the other person making his/her will as written. (See: mirror wills)

mutual wills

wills made by two persons who, in pursuance of an antecedent agreement, leave their estates reciprocally to the survivor. In English law, either will may be revoked during the joint lifetimes of the testators, but equity will specifically enforce the mutual wills agreement (thereby effectively making revocation by the survivor impossible) after the death of one of the parties.
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On August 10, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, determined that a third-party beneficiary is entitled to enforce a contract embedded in a mutual will before the death of the surviving spouse.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals held that Helen's second will was valid, because the mutual will placed no contractual obligation on her to refrain from executing a new will; see Est.
But its first clear acceptance, and of mutual will at that, appears in the records of those quintessentially "urban (middle-class)" Jews of the eighth and ninth centuries, the Karaites, a product of what has been called the Judaeo-Islamic symbiosis at the height of its medieval flowering.
For example, the Dutch abandoned the use of the mutual will (which was written jointly by both spouses) by the 1690s, but Dutch men continued to use their legal prerogatives under the common law to ensure their widow's authority over the family estate and postpone their children's inheritance until her death.
Denny's son took the matter to the Court of Appeal who found that Laura and Denny's agreement made their wills Mutual Wills and it would be unfair to allow Laura to change her will after Denny's death.