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The Different Types of Wills

When you think of a will (which you should do, as they are an incredibly important document to have drawn up), you would be forgiven for thinking that there is only one type of will, and nothing more. That’s that. A will is a will is a will… Right?

Not quite. Although wills are not as complicated as we’ve all been led to believe (especially when you have the helpful people at Probate A Will to guide you through), there are a number of different variations that you need to consider before making and signing this binding legal document.

All wills do the same job; they explain who you would like your assets to be inherited by, and what you would like them to do with them. But not all wills are equal. In this post, we will discuss the main types of will, and how they work.

The single will is the one we have all heard of. It is a list of instructions from an individual regarding what they want to happen to their possessions and estate after their death. This is the most widely used type of will, and the simplest.

The mirror will, although similar to the single will, occurs when two wills are written by couples (unmarried, married, or in a civil partnership) who have the same wishes with regard to their estate and possessions after their deaths. Therefore, the two wills generally mirror one another. Mirror wills can be written instead of two single wills.

Property trust wills are intended for use by people who wish to protect the inherent value within a property for their loved ones. It means that the property is safe from having to be sold to cover care fees for the surviving partner or spouse, and it is protected for future generations of family.

Flexible interest trust wills also protect property, just like the property trust wills do, but they also protect the deceased person’s savings. These wills ensure that whoever is named in the will is provided for by the savings and investments of the deceased. Because they are flexible, these wills mean that some people will benefit immediately, and some will have their inheritance placed into trust. This type of will works well when there are two or more families to consider (ie if someone has married more than once and has children in each marriage).

Discretionary trust wills allow specially chosen trustees to manage your estate and portion out the inheritance as they see fit. This is a good way of ensuring that those who need it the most at the time of your death will, hopefully, become the main beneficiaries. This is also a good way of looking after those who may not be old enough to use their inheritance wisely, or those who are physically or mentally incapable of dealing with an inheritance.

However, this type of will does have its downsides, the main one being that it is someone else making decisions regarding what should be done with the deceased person’s money and possessions, and not the person themselves.

A living will is often mentioned in the news and on television programmes. It is different to other types of will since the person who wrote it must be alive for it to come into force. It is used to set out exactly what kinds of medical treatment someone would wish to receive should they become incapable of speaking for themselves (perhaps they are in a coma, or too weak to consider any kind of decision making). A living will allows the person who made it to refuse specific treatment – or to refuse all treatment.

A lasting power of attorney (formally the enduring power of attorney) gives a specified person the task of dealing with all financial matters on the behalf of the deceased person. This will have been something that began while the will’s writer had been alive, and will continue once the person dies (or is unable to make decisions for themselves). The lasting power of attorney may have been set up if a degenerative disease has been diagnosed, or if the will’s originator travels abroad for long periods of time.

Other types of will include the oral will, the notarial will, and the unsolemn will amongst others. It can be difficult to decide which will is the right one for you, but if you contact us, or click here we can help you through the maze and ensure that you make the perfect choice.

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