CASE study:

Clive’s story – watch out for loopholes with mirror wills

When Clive Baker’s father Richard died of heart failure in 2013 aged 88, Clive knew everything — including the Baker family home in South Yorkshire — would pass to his stepmother Janice.

His father had married in later life and had explained to Clive, now 71, that whoever died first would leave their estate to the other.

Then, when the surviving partner passed away, the couple’s joint finances would be divided equally between their three children: Clive, his sister Cath and Janice’s son from an earlier relationship.

But in August 2021, Clive and his sister noticed something amiss. Cath was walking past the family home in South Yorkshire, which Richard had owned for decades, and saw a ‘for sale’ sign in the front garden.

Clive later discovered that after Richard died, Janice had changed her own will to cut out both him and his sister.

Neighbours told Clive that Janice had died two months earlier. Under the terms of her new will, everything — including the treasured family home — had been left to her only son.

Now, Clive and Cath’s estranged stepbrother was trying to cash in their late father’s property for £150,000. Janice had been able to change her will because of a loophole with mirror wills which means rightful heirs are being denied inheritances without any say.

Read the full story on the Daily Mail’s This is Money website:

Heartbreaking situations like Clive’s arise when two people create mirror wills and do not take steps to consider what may happen if one of them dies many years before the other.

To find an Accredited Lifetime Lawyer near you, click here.

“You can get a cheap will or power of attorney over the internet. What you’re unlikely to get, is a cheap will or power of attorney that actually does what you want it to. And unfortunately, that won’t become clear until it’s too late.”

Michael Culver, Chair, The Association of Lifetime Lawyers.