Types of Will
Different takes on the traditional model
Contrary to what you might expect, there are actually quite a few different types of will. Each of them is designed to cover different eventualities and situations. Here you will find a run-through of each type.
Single and Mirror Wills
A Single Will is what you probably think of when you hear the word ‘Will’ – a document created by one person, regardless of marital or relationship status, which lays out their wishes after death and how they would like their estate to be distributed.
Mirror Wills serve the same purpose but are designed for couples who have identical or very similar wishes. Because the wording of the two Wills is unlikely to differ much, Mirror Wills are generally a far better deal than buying a Single Will for each partner separately. Mirror Wills can be purchased by couples whether they are married, in a civil partnership or even unmarried.
Using a Single Will, or a set of Mirror Wills, you can establish the executors who will manage the distribution of your estate after your death, appoint guardians for children and set out who should inherit sums of money or specific possessions. You are also able to state if you wish to leave any money to charities, and express your wishes with regard to funeral arrangements.
Property Trust Wills
Property Trust Wills are intended for use by people who have a particular interest in protecting a property’s value for future generations. The upside of this sort of will is that it ensures the property is not reduced in value by care fees and is thoroughly protected so that it can be inherited by the children after the remaining survivor of the marriage passes away. This kind of will is suited to couples who want to ensure that their family homes are not sold off to fund care home fees for the surviving partner.
Flexible Interest Trust Wills
Flexible Interest Trust Wills are similar to Property Trust Wills insofar as they protect one’s property, but offer additional security for those who also have a large amount in savings. Flexible Interest Trust Wills are set up so that you can support your surviving partner (or another person) until they pass away with the income generated by your investments, while simultaneously ensuring that the capital invested is protected for your offspring to inherit. It also performs identically to a Property Trust Will in preventing your property from losing value.
Discretionary Trust Wills
In addition to performing the same functions as a normal will, a Discretionary Trust Will allow you to ensure that you can leave money to those who may not be suited to receive it directly. This is done by appointing trustees - reliable people who can deal with the inheritance and make good use of it on the beneficiary’s behalf.
Making a Discretionary Trust Will gives the peace of mind that comes with knowing that those loved ones who may need assistance with handling their finances will be provided for after your death, and that the decisions made for them will be in their best interests.
A Discretionary Trust Will is suitable for leaving money to:
- Those who are not mentally or physically able to deal with their own financial affairs
- Those who are in financial trouble or severe debt
- Those who receive disability benefits which could be reduced or eliminated if they were to come into money
A Living Will allows a person to set down their wishes regarding the extent of the medical treatment they would want to receive should they become incapacitated and incapable of making their own decisions on the matter. Living Wills are a means of ensuring that you will only receive treatment you would approve of, and are able to specify the lengths and limitations that you would like in place regarding how long and how extensive your medical care should be. It enables you to refuse treatment you would never want to receive, for example life-extending therapy when suffering from an extremely debilitating terminal illness, although you are not able to make legally-binding requests for a specific treatment.
Despite this, a Living Will is an excellent means of reassurance for your loved ones that they are acting in your best interest and are not prolonging your life or allowing you to pass away against your wishes.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (or the similar Enduring Power of Attorney which it replaced at the beginning of October 2007) is a legally-binding document allowing you to grant another person (known as an attorney) the ability to deal with your financial matters on your behalf. There are several situations in which this may be useful, including concerns about your future capacity to handle these affairs yourself or plans for travelling abroad which may leave you unable to make financial transactions in your country of residence for a time.
However, this particular kind of document is geared more towards the former situation, because unlike a normal Power of Attorney, the agreement is still in force at the point where the document’s originator becomes incapable of making their own decisions, due to degenerative illness or any other reasons.
This makes a Lasting Power of Attorney extremely useful for making sure that those close to you are able to administer your finances when you are not longer capable of doing so.
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