What are the different types of Wills?
There are different types of Wills to suit different situations, and as a Will can be tailored to a client’s exact needs, they come in many variations, and can be tweaked to suit all types of family set up or situation. Our Will & Estate Planning Consultants are experienced in writing Wills and Trusts and can advise you on the best Will to fit you and your family.
The following is a brief look at some types of Will you might come across when deciding which is best for you:
A Mirror Will is one of two Wills, created for someone who is married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting and want both Wills to be similarly drawn up, protecting each other if one or both should die, and also protecting any children. Although partners living together can just as easily have two separate Wills, making a Mirror Will can give reassurance to partners, especially in today’s more complex modern family setups, where the absence of a Will could mean your children or partner will not benefit from your estate.
The benefits of drawing up a Mirror Will with your partner include the following:
Your Partner Inherits Your Entire Estate
Writing a Mirror Will protects you and your partner’s financial future, particularly in situations where you are not automatically entitled to inherit the estate (e.g. if you are not married). The Mirror Will approach can ensure you or your partner will not be left without a home or financial security.
You Can Provide for Your Children
A Mirror Will usually include how the estate should be distributed to your children should both parents die at the same time.
You Can Avoid Inheritance Tax
Inheritance tax can drain an estate considerably without careful tax planning, and a deduction will be made on your estate on anything over and above the inheritance tax ‘nil band rate’ (currently £325,000). The good news for couples is the nil rate band is transferable to the surviving spouse. With a Mirror Will, you can transfer the inheritance tax allowance of the deceased to the surviving spouse. This amount is then added to the last surviving spouse’s allowance when they die. If the estate is valued at less than double the inheritance tax nil rate band, there will be no inheritance tax chargeable on the second partner’s death.
You Can Name Additional Executors
Usually, a person will appoint their spouse as executor (a person appointed to administer your estate). However, it is recommended to appoint at least one other person on your Mirror Will should you both die at the same time.
If you are thinking of drawing up a Mirror Will, or if you think you need to review your Will, e.g. if you’ve recently separated or re-married, speak to one of our Will & Estate Planning Consultants who can advise on the best options for you.
See our information page on Mirror Wills for more information.
Trust Wills can be a useful way to offer increased protection for your family. You should consider adding a Trust to your Will if:
- You have a partner, but have children from a previous relationship
You want to protect your estate from care fees
You want to look after the interests of a vulnerable or disabled person after you die
A Trust is a legal arrangement which makes someone responsible for assets or property for the benefit of someone else. A Trust can be included as part of your Will or in a Trust deed and can set up for use either during lifetime or after death.
One of the most common purposes of the Trust Will is for partners looking to split ownership on the family home so that each partner has a half-share. Rather than leaving this to each other, they leave their share in a Trust, which comes into being on the death of the first partner. This is a common set up for couples with children from a previous relationship.
There are many types of Trusts, which can be set up for many different reasons. A Trust may be created for the financial benefit of the person creating the Trust, a surviving spouse or child, a person with special needs, or a vulnerable person, or for a charitable purpose.
When you set up a Trust, you are asked to appoint a trustee to look after the assets. The trustee (the person charged with looking after the property) will have legal title to the Trust property which means the property will appear to be one of complete ownership and possession. However, the trustee has no right to receive any benefits from the property. The equitable title (the right to benefit from the property) belongs entirely to the beneficiary. The distinction between legal and equitable ownership is unique to Trusts.
The terms of the Trust are decided by the person creating the Trust, who can decide on the extent of the trustee’s powers and the rights of the beneficiary.
The law of Trusts is voluminous and often complicated, and it is essential to take full advice when considering establishing a Trust. We believe should be a straightforward process, which is why we do everything to ensure you are guided smoothly through the entire process. Contact our Trust & Estate Planning Consultants today to arrange a consultation, where you will be fully advised of your options.
See our information page on Trust Wills for more information.
Living Wills (Advance Directives)
A Living Will (or Advance Directive) is not a Will in the usual sense, but is instead a document expressing your wishes on how you are to be treated in a situation where you are unable to communicate with doctors yourself. As the idea of undergoing invasive, life-sustaining treatment where there is no prospect of recovery does not appeal to everyone, the Living Will can give individuals more control over the decisions made at such a time. It can also make your wishes for life-prolonging artificial nutrition, hydration and ventilation known, and a statement can be made on your feelings about participation in scientific research. Living Wills cannot be used to request a treatment however, nor can they be used to make a request to end your life, their function is to give the medical professionals treating you some guidance as to your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatment. It can also help to alleviate pressure and guilt on family members who may otherwise have had to make these decisions in the absence of a Living Will.
In England and Wales, a person has the right to refuse treatment or care, even if it has the effect of shortening their life. Those giving treatment must respect these decisions, and treatment given without consent may constitute an assault in England and Wales. You may appoint someone to consent or refuse treatment on your behalf in either by way of a Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney or by making a Living Will. The difference between the two is that a Living Will can include decisions you have made yourself on how you would like to be treated, and the Health and Welfare Power of Attorney’s only function is to appoint someone else to make decisions about your welfare for you. Guidelines for medical professionals on what to do if a patient has made a Living Will can be found in the Code of Practice to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
See our information page on Lasting Power of Attorney’s for more information.