Which Will is suitable for you?
Wills are legal documents that legally state how you would like your affairs and assets handled after you pass away. There are many types of Wills you can choose from and one may be better for you than another for your circumstances. Different types of trusts can be incorporated into your will to offer further protection for the future. You may even already have a will that needs updating or you may wish to change the will type once you understand how different wills can work for you.
Will Types & Trusts
Choosing the best options for you can seem overwhelming, but don't worry our fully trained consultants will look at which options suit you and your needs the most and help to explain in simple terms the pros and cons of different will types.
This, enables you can make the right decision to better prepare yourself and your estate for the future.
If you are single, do not have vulnerable beneficiaries and your circumstances are straight forward, a simple Single Will may be appropriate for you. This will, will outline how your estate is passed and who will manage the estate for you.
A Mirror Will is a Will that mirrors its counterpart. They are normally used by spouses but can also be used by siblings or people who live together. There are two Wills, one for everyone, each identical or similar with what they specify for end-of-life plans. Mirror Wills are designed for couples who have the same or similar wishes and who are usually the beneficiaries of each other’s Wills should the other person die. The couples may be married or cohabitees.
A Mirror Will may not be appropriate if you do not have the same end of life wishes as your partner.
Protective Property Trusts
Even if your will specifies a beneficiary for your property, marriage and other changes to your living conditions may lead to unexpected eventual owners of your property. Trusts are the most effective way to safeguard against such alterations. These trusts can also protect children from a previous marriage to ensure they are not disinherited or that the property is lost to unnecessary care home fees.
Discretionary trusts are a useful way of incorporating a group of beneficiaries of whom may potentially inherit certain assets. It is at the discretion of the trustee to consider each beneficiary and whether they should inherit. Sometimes the deceased has created a letter of wishes to guide the trustee.
The main reasons to use a discretionary trust are:
Protection - This may be protecting the beneficiaries from themselves, for example due to addiction concerns, or from third party claims on that beneficiary.
Flexibility - This could be flexibility for beneficiaries, such as a beneficiary who lacks financial ability to manage the inheritance themselves. Alternatively, it may be flexibility for the testator for example if they may want to amend the distribution of the estate often (but the beneficiaries will remain the same).
Flexible Life Interest Trust
Protecting your assets for your children and still allowing your surviving spouse or partner to benefit from them whilst they are alive has become a common issue for modern families where there are second marriages and stepchildren. A life interest trust included in a Will allows you to balance the needs of your loved ones, helping you to ensure the financial security of your current spouse whilst still protecting your children’s inheritance for the future.
If you have a child or someone else, you want to provide for who is disabled in some way you may be worried about how you can ensure their needs are met way after you are gone. Leaving something to them directly can cause problems if they are in receipt of means tested benefits, or if they aren’t mentally capable of managing an inheritance themselves.
Some people opt to leave assets to another relative in the hopes that they will use this to support the vulnerable person. While this sounds like a nice idea unfortunately there is no guarantee that this will work! The person you leave assets to may start out with the best intentions, but if they become bankrupt, divorce, or die then that money that was meant to be used for the vulnerable person is now lost.