What is the right will for me?
You’ve finally got round to writing your will but didn’t realise there are types of wills and ways to write it. In this blog I’ve captured some of the different types and given a few pointers to help you decide which is the right one for you.
As the title suggests this is a will outlining one person’s wishes when they die. These would mainly be the right choice for the following people:
- A single person with no spouse or partner
- Someone with a spouse or partner but has children from a previous relationship
- If your spouse already has their will written
- You and your partner have different wishes on how your joint estate should be distributed
It is a simple straightforward will that outlines how your assets should be distributed.
A Mirror Will is two documents with identical wishes which is mainly used for spouses, civil partners, and cohabitants.
In short, this type of will is generally where each person leaves their estate to each other on first death, and finally, to their children on second death.
The documents are two separate wills, and each person has the right to change or revoke them at any time. This can be done during both persons lifetimes and after the first death. It’s important to note that changing or revoking the will does not need the permission of the other party.
There can be some flexibility in these wills – ie. minor differences detailing specific gifts.
A discretionary trust is something built into your will and is where you nominate trustees to distribute funds to chosen beneficiaries. The trustees have the power to decide how much and when the monies are distributed ie. it is done at their “discretion”.
A letter of wishes to the trustees is normally prepared to give them guidance on how you would like them to exercise their discretion.
Some examples of when a discretionary trust would be used would be when there are young children that need providing for; a disabled person that needs ongoing care; or when there is someone that is not considered capable of looking after their own money.
This is a way of ring fencing all or part of your property for one person, whilst ensuring another person benefits from it during their lifetime.
An example of when to use this is when a couple with a jointly owned property wish to ensure that their share of the property is protected for their children. By protected I mean against possible assessments that could be carried out for care home fees in the future.
Another good use of a property trust is when someone is remarried and would ultimately like their share of the property to pass to their children from a previous relationship. It can also be used to protect against the risk of sideways disinheritance on the remarriage of the surviving spouse.
The aforementioned are just ripples in a very large pool of complications to consider when writing your will. Other considerations I haven’t even touched on are inheritance tax, gifting and ensuring any pets have ongoing care.