The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Wills
What is a will? A will is a legal document by which a person expresses his or her wishes upon death. Creating a will is a subject not many people want to discuss or even think about, but it is essential. A will is one of the most important documents you will ever write. It means you get to hand over your sentimental items, belongings and home to a loved one instead of the state.
If you have any questions about wills, or any related subject, contact us and one of our Healthcare Coaches would love to walk you through it.
I am going to explain the 4 different types of wills, what they consist of, and in what situations would you need them.
1. Simple Wills
A simple will is a legal document where the testator (person writing the will) details his/her wishes regarding the distribution of his/her assets from an uncomplicated estate upon his/her death. A simple will can be completed on your own, but it is usually best to consult with an attorney to be sure that you are avoiding any unintended legal issues.
The key components to a simple will are:
– It names the executor, who is the person that has the responsibility to carry out the instructions in the will.
– It describes how the assets in the estate are to be distributed.
– It can include the naming of guardians for any minor children.
A simple will is typically used in situations where a more detailed will is not necessary. If the testator does not have much in property or assets and does not expect to owe estate tax, this type of will may be appropriate. This type of will can also be appropriate if you are under age 50 and in good health.
2. Testamentary Trust Wills
A Testamentary Trust Will is a will that, upon the death of the testator, establishes one or more trusts. These types of wills are designed to protect the deceased’s assets because those assets belong to the trust rather than an individual. The Trustees then must act in accordance with the provisions set out in the will for how the Trust is to be managed.
Testamentary Trust Wills typically:
– Will specify the assets from the estate that are to be transferred into the separate testamentary trusts created by the will.
– Will specify who is to be the trustee of each trust.
– Will specify who are to be the beneficiaries of each trust created by the will.
– Will specify an appointor for each testamentary trust.
This type of will is typically used to protect assets and reduce taxes paid by the beneficiaries from income earned from the inheritance. This will can also provide a greater level of control over the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries, protect your wealth from unjust claims, keep your assets within your family and give assets to minor children over a period of time.
3. Joint Wills
A joint will is a type of will that is executed by two or more persons, typically a married couple, who leave their assets to each other. It combines both party’s last will and testament into one document. With a joint will, the surviving person inherits the entire estate when the other party passes away.
In addition, a joint will specifies how the estate will be distributed when the second person dies. A joint will cannot be revoked without the consent of both testators, which means that it is irrevocable as soon as one of the testators dies.
A joint will is designed to prevent the surviving person from changing his/her mind about the disposition of the property after the first person dies. One example where this will is beneficial is for couples who marry late in life and where one or both parties have children from prior marriages. Having a joint will in this scenario can help to ensure that children of both spouses share in the estate.
4. Living Wills
A living will is different than the other types of wills because this does not distribute property or assets upon the death of the testator. Living wills can also be called Advance Directives or a Directive to Physicians. This type of will gives instructions on what type of medical treatments you wish to receive, in the event that you are unable to communicate this for yourself. Most living wills explain whether or not you want to be kept on life support if you become terminally ill or fall into a persistent vegetative state. It also can address your preferences for tube feeding, artificial hydration, and pain medication in certain situations.
A living will is a document that can be used by all adults. Unexpected situations can happen at any age, so it is important for all adults to prepare this document. Since this is a sensitive subject, here are some tips for discussing living wills with family.
By preparing a living will ahead of time, you can make sure that you get the medical care you want, avoid unnecessary suffering and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during difficult moments. Living wills also help reduce confusion or disagreement about the choices you would want people to make on your behalf.
By Chrissy Schuster, LMSW, CCM
If you are caring for a loved one, or simply just planning ahead in case of an emergency, our Healthcare Coaches would love to walk you through this process so you and your family feel safe and prepared. We believe no one should go through this alone. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-844-790-5667 to get started.
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