Your guide to the different types of wills

When it comes to wills and securing your family’s future after you pass away, there are so many options that deciding what to do can be challenging.

This is why we’ve put together a guide on the different types of wills and which is best for you when it’s time to make a will.

Single will

Although many mistakenly assume a single will is for unmarried people, anyone can make one. A single will offers individuals the opportunity to record their own wishes for their assets. this makes it the perfect option if you have different wishes to your partner or if they already have a will in place.

A single will may not be the best option if you are married now but have children from a previous relationship. If you have vulnerable loved ones and want to ensure they are looked after in the event of your death, a single will is also likely not the right option.

Mirror wills

Mirror wills are perfect for couples who have the same wishes for their estate. You don’t have to be married to create a mirror will. They are often cheaper than making two separate single wills, so it can be a more cost-effective option.

These are typically the best option if you think there is a chance you will outlive your partner or another person named in your will. Your will might say that you want to leave your estate to your partner, while theirs might say they want to leave their estate to you.

Living will

Instead of setting out what you want to happen to your assets when you die, a living will details what you want to happen in the event of you becoming unable to communicate your wishes. You can set out the treatments you would want in the event of illness, as well as any wishes for resuscitation.

They are used when there is a danger you will lose the capacity to make your own decisions, such as if you develop dementia, or if you are no longer able to share these decisions, such as if you develop a muscle-wasting illness.

Discretionary trust will

A discretionary trust will allows the person you name as trustee to decide who will benefit from your estate, as well as how and when they will benefit. You are free to name potential beneficiaries, but the decision will be with the trustee.

It allows them to choose who will need your assets most upon your death – a situation that may change over the years. As a result, you should ensure you choose someone you trust completely as your trustee – someone who will make the right decision for the beneficiaries of your estate.

Property trust will

A property trust will allows your half of your shared home to pass into a trust upon your death, meaning your partner can stay in your home. This means that if your partner requires long-term care, only their share of the property will be evaluated for care home costs.

It also means that if your surviving partner has to go into care, at least half the property will be preserved for your children. This means it is suitable for couples who think one partner may require care at some point.

Trust wills

There are a number of other trusts that you can rely on when it’s time to draft your will. You might require the use of a life interest trust will, which is similar to the property trust will but allows you to place part or the entirety of your estate in.

Meanwhile, a flexible will trust gives you the flexibility you may require if you have a more complicated family, such as children from a previous marriage. You can use a flexible will trust to bestow some of your estate to certain beneficiaries upon your death, but simultaneously hold the rest in the trust for future beneficiaries.

With so many different types of wills available, there is going to be one that fits your situation. Once you know which is the right one for you, the important thing is to ensure that it’s legally binding. A specialist wills solicitor can ensure you complete the process properly.

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