October 6, 2023

Exploring Different Types of Wills: Finding the Right Option for You

If you’re looking into organising a will for yourself, you may need some information on which type of will to write. Creating your will plays a vital role in the distribution of your estate when you pass away, particularly if you have a partner or children. Understanding which one you should choose allows you peace of mind that your assets are in safe hands. Below, we’ve detailed the different types of will and what they entail so you can be assured that you make the right decision. Read on to find out more.

Single Will

This is also known as a simple will and it is one of the most common types of will you can have. The document is very simple and details what you would like to happen to your estate when you die. A single will is typically used in certain situations:

Choosing this type of will allows you to discuss what you would like to happen to your estate and who you would like it to go to. The document will then need to be signed in front of two witnesses.

Mirror Wills

Mirror wills (also known as joint wills) are ideal for when you and your partner are in agreement about what happens to your assets and how they are distributed. These wills are usually presented in two individual documents (one for each person) but they will state exactly the same thing. It must be noted that if you choose this will, either partner can change their will at any time, without legally needing to inform the other party.

Choosing this will mean that when one of you passes away, all of the estate will be passed to the surviving partner. When the surviving partner dies, the estate will be distributed based on the instructions of the will.

When choosing this will, there must be a high level of trust between the partners, as either of the partners could change the will after the other dies. This should be considered particularly when it involves children from a previous relationship – some people may leave out certain family members or change their will after the death of their partner to benefit them.

Living Wills

A living will is chosen when the person is at risk of becoming too unwell to communicate or decide how they would like to be medically treated. Another name for the living will is an Advance Decision. These wills are used should you reject any form of treatment, such as resuscitation or being placed on a ventilator. In England and Wales, medical staff must adhere to the wishes laid out in this will by law.

However, it is worth noting that these types of wishes are often better dealt with by way of a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, which allows you to specify who you want to make decision on your behalf should you become unable to do so for yourself.

Trust Wills

There are different types of trust wills that you can choose from that you may decide to use instead of a basic will. They are designed to suit a range of circumstances and to address any issues that may arise from a mirror or single will.

Discretionary Trust

A discretionary trust is ideal in situations where young children or beneficiaries are unable to manage their own funds and are provided with financial benefits. It enables you to leave either part or all of your will to a trust. The trust must be stated in the will, along with the trustees who will be able to manage it and decide who the beneficiaries will be. Whoever is assigned a trustee will have control over how the beneficiaries will get the contents of the will and when.

A major benefit to this will is that if the person is in debt or bankrupt, creditors cannot gain access to the funds in any way.

Life Interest Trust over the Property

This type of trust is ideal if you have a property that you would like someone to be able to reside in, and receive the enjoyment of, but ultimately would like the proceeds of the sale of the property to go to different beneficiaries. An example of when this type of will would be used is if you have children that you would like to pass the home on to but would like your partner to remain in the property until they pass away. A Life Interest Trust over the Property can be particularly useful if you have remarried but wish your assets to be inherited by your children from a previous relationship or for care fee planning.

Flexible Life Interest Trust Wills

Similar to the Life Interest Trust over the Property, this will allow a beneficiary to receive income from the trust while protecting the assets that you own. Your partner will be able to access the funds for the rest of their life for their needs and requirements. Once the surviving partner dies, the funds that are left are given to the other beneficiaries stated in the will. On most occasions, these are the children.

If you’re looking to get a will drafted, Beswicks Legal Incorporating Maddocks Clarke offers the best legal advice in Altrincham, allowing you the peace of mind that your will is in the best possible hands. Our team can help individuals, couples or families put proper arrangements in place to ensure your loved ones are provided for after you die and your wishes are carried out. If you need help planning for the future, contact our team today to make an enquiry or take a look at our Wills, Probate and Lasting Powers of Attorney information to find out more.