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.
Dorothy's transfer of funds from the sale of her home into three accounts held in joint tenancy with Thomas violated the contract embedded in her mutual will with Robert.
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.
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.
While a regular feature of civil law, the mutual will was unknown to English law until this case.
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.
Equally, if an agreement not to revoke the wills was essential, the revocation of a mutual will and the subsequent execution of another will largely in conformity with the agreement for mutual wills or the revocation of the will(s) by operation of law upon remarriage, would constitute a breach of the mutual wills agreement.
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.
Particular issues for seniors include reviewing a will regularly to ensure beneficiaries still survive, exploring options for trusts for grandchildren, and properly managing later life relationships: life estates and mutual wills may be appropriate options.
The elderly couple had made mutual wills appointing the other as sole executor to their assets.
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.