Most of us are aware we need a Will and that it is not a good idea to write your own. But what type of Will do you need? Whilst helping you to put one together is relatively straightforward, there are different types of process depending on the circumstances. Deciding which is best for you will help avoid any unintended consequences for your family and your estate after you pass. In this article we will explain the different types of will writing service and what is required to formalise them.
What Are the Different Types of Wills and Will Trusts?
A Single Will is probably the most familiar kind of will and will be suitable for most individuals to outline their wishes. While Single Wills are generally for people who are not in a relationship or divorced, they are also used in circumstances when your wishes differ from those of your spouse or if they already have a seperate Will. A Single Will states how your assets are divided and the document is signed in front of witnesses.
Single Wills are particularly useful if you’re married but have children from a previous relationship as you are able to divide your estate between your spouse and your children. If you would like to make special provisions for loved ones however, a Trust Will might be a better option .
A Will doesn’t just have to cover how your assets are distributed but also details such as funeral plans and what you would like to happen to items of sentimental value.
Mirror Wills are designed for couples who have the same intentions. Here, there are two documents produced, one for each person, and each Will ‘mirrors’ the other.
In a Mirror Will the estate is distributed as follows:
- When one spouse dies the whole estate is passed to the surviving spouse
- When The second spouse dies, the estate is distributed according to what is laid out in the rest of the Will
In a Mirror Will, you can make requests such as funeral arrangements and make personal bequests of sentimental items. Remember though, that with a Mirror Will is that there is an element of trust involved and no guarantee your estate will be passed on to your loved ones; the surviving spouse is entirely within their rights to change their Will and distribute it however they wish, even cutting out children and others leaving it all to someone else if they decide to. This could be a problem if you have children from a previous marriage or the surviving spouse remarries.
Furthermore, while the documents are created at the same time, either partner can change their Will later on and there is no legal requirement to inform the other partner that this has happened. To prevent this ring-fencing parts for beneficiaries of your estate using a Will Trust is an option
There are different types of Trust Wills writing service and each gives you flexibility over your assets and how they’re managed.
A Discretionary Trust is used to leave your estate or part of it, to a trust created in your Will and only used after you die. You can choose people to manage the trust (Trustees) and name beneficiaries of the Trust. The Trustees then have total discretion over what, how and when your beneficiaries receive the contents of the Trust.
Discretionary trusts are useful for providing funds for minors or beneficiaries who aren’t able to manage their own finances. Furthermore, Discretionary Trusts cannot be accessed by creditors so are useful for providing for those in debt or bankruptcy.
Property Trust Wills
Property Trust Wills protect property. They allow someone to benefit from the property held in the trust while at the same time preserving all or part of it for other beneficiaries. So if you want your home to pass to your children but you want your surviving spouse to remain in the house until they die, this is useful if you have remarried.
Flexible Life Interest Trust Will
A Life Interest Trust is similar to a Property Trust Will but protects assets. In this case, a beneficiary can receive income from the trust and a surviving spouse can still have access to funds for their needs. On their death however, the assets pass to other beneficiaries such as children.
A Flexible Life Interest Trust Will is often the best type for most circumstances as it has extra flexibility about how and when funds are released. If your spouse needs funds to pay for care home fees, these are then owed to the trust and are repaid and passed on to beneficiaries on death.
In both cases, there is protection from Inheritance Tax laws, though income and capital gain tax still apply, so it is best to bear those in mind if trying to use a trust to reduce Inheritance Tax bills.
A Living Will, legally referred to as Advance Decisions, is a document which outlines any medical treatments you don’t want in future and only used if you are unable to make or communicate those. These are commonly used to outline what treatments are used or are not to be used to treat long-term diseases or sudden CPR requirements
Advance Decisions are legally binding in England and Wales, and healthcare professionals must follow them.
We hope this blog post has highlighted the differences between the types of Wills and Will Trusts available to you. It can be tricky to negotiate estate planning solutions and know the best way to write a will, which is why we’re here to help. Get in contact with us, and we can work out the best combination and help you put them in place.
Get in touch to learn about our different types of will writing service.