Most people don’t even consider making a will until a major life event happens. You get married. Have kids. Get into a big accident. However, it shouldn’t take a major life event for you to realize it’s time to start thinking about your future. There are many different types of wills and it may be difficult to understand what fits with your situation. Here are the 6 most popular types of wills, what they are, and when you need them.
A simple will is a common will choice and can be prepared either by yourself or with an attorney to avoid any unintended legal issues. In this document, the person writing the will (testator) dictates their wishes regarding the distribution of assets upon their death.
These types of wills are generally used in situations when a more detailed will is not necessary. If you have an uncomplicated estate, such as that you do not have much in property or assets and do not expect to owe estate taxes, a simple will may be best for you. Also, if you are under 50 and in good health, this will can be appropriate to detail straightforward wishes.
Testamentary Trust Wills
A testamentary will is a legal document that puts at least some of your assets or property into a trust. A trust distributes your assets to a beneficiary but is administered by a third person who has complete control over when and how it is distributed.
This is ideal in situations when the beneficiary is financially irresponsible or is too young. The assets would be distributed gradually over time, instead of one lump sum.
This type of will is a single will that two people prepare together and submit. In the case of a joint will, you are enabling the spouse to receive all of your assets and property. After one of the testators dies, the co-signer of the will can no longer change the will. These wills may also include a stipulation for asset distribution after the second person dies.
Difficulties arise from joint wills that can cause legal complications. For example, if one spouse decides they want to change an aspect of the will, they cannot do so unless they have the consent of the other spouse.
A mutual will, also known as a reciprocal or mirror will, is an alternative for a joint will. In this case, there are two separate wills that are close mirrors of each other. As a joint will does, they still allow couples and spouses to leave all their assets and property to each other, but since each spouse wrote their own will, they can still change them without consent from the spouse. They are also free to change it as needed after the first spouse dies, which you are unable to do in the case of a joint will.
Unlike other types of wills, a living will won’t distribute your property and assets after the death of the testator. Instead, it dictates how you will be treated and what types of medical treatment will be given in case you become too ill to communicate.
This type of will is important for people with serious health problems or anticipated medical emergencies later on in life, such as what to do in the case of becoming terminally ill or unconscious.
A holographic will, or a handwritten will, is only accepted in a few states, Nevada being one of them. One of these wills must be written in your own handwriting and it doesn’t have to be witnessed.
These wills are often very problematic and can cause issues after death, especially if there was no attorney present at the time the testator wrote it.
Let a Wills Lawyer Help
The assistance of a lawyer in drafting your will can save money and time for your family down the line. A lawyer can help you decide which type of will is best for you and your family, as well as providing guidance throughout the entire process. Chat with Heather Ijames today to learn more.