A common question our team gets all the time is regarding what a will is.
Essentially, a will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the care of your children and plans for your assets upon death. However, there are multiple forms of wills, so selecting the correct one for your circumstances is crucial.
This article aims to provide a quick guide on the frequently asked questions about wills, namely, what is a will; and the different forms of wills.
What is a Simple Will?
If you have a few assets and a small family, a simple will may be for you.
Many people use simple wills if they’re in their first marriage with kids and that marriage is happy. In this case, the testator usually wants to give their estate to their spouse and children exclusively. A simple will lets the testator do this clearly and concisely without any room for misunderstanding.
However, if you have many assets and people to award the estate, then a simple will won’t cut it. That’s where complex wills come into play.
What is a Complex Will?
Complex wills are typically for individuals with large estates or many people to award the estate to.
Complex wills are, as the name suggests, more complex than simple wills. They may include things like Special Disability Trusts and Testamentary Trusts. A complex will provides the testator with much more in-depth ways to distribute their estate.
With a complex will, you can set up certain conditions by which the estate is split. You’re given a lot more freedom to spread out your estate in specific ways. You don’t just need to award lump sums to your family; you can give whatever you want to whoever you want.
Complex Wills Include:
- Testamentary Trust Wills
- Disability Trust Wills
- Mutual wills
Here is a quick rundown of each:
What is a Testamentary Trust Will?
You might make a testamentary will if you don’t want to award your estate in a lump sum.
Testamentary wills’ let you leave your estate in a Trust. The Trust is then given to an appointed beneficiary who has complete control over it. The beneficiary can use the Trust in whatever way they please; however, there are usually some instructions regarding how it should be used.
A testamentary Trust will include multiple trusts awarded to multiple beneficiaries.
This is usually only done with substantially large estates, and it can be costly. It does come with extra taxation advantages and asset protection, though. It can also mean fewer arguments and disagreements over the estate post-death.
Testamentary trust wills are often given to children or those with disabilities. It ensures them a large sum that they can use as they see fit for schooling, medical bills, and more.
There are sometimes conditions to these wills. For example, the Trust may be awarded to a child only once they reach 18 years of age and are ready to go to university. In that case, the Trust would be awarded when the child becomes 18.
What is a Disability Trust Will
A disability trust will is used if the estate is going, at least in part, to a disabled person. It may contain conditions and directions just as a testamentary trust will does. This leaves the disabled person with a trust to dip into whenever they require money for medical expenses, assistance, and whatever else they may need to thrive.
What is a Mutual Will
A mutual will is one entered into by both you and your spouse.
Mutual wills are written in case one spouse dies before the other. The mutual will ensures that the preferred beneficiaries are awarded each partner’s estate on their passing. Mutual wills cannot usually be changed after written.
Because these wills are so set in stone, they’re not often used. If you’re considering signing a mutual will with your spouse, talk to your solicitor first. It may be beneficial, but it may also be a bad move.
How Do I Know Which Type of Will I Need?
If you’re planning on making a will, you should always seek proper advice rather than going in blind.
Talk with a trusted Wills & Estates solicitor to figure out what kind of will you need. They’ll be able to set you in the right direction. They can go over your estate with you and decide who might get what and how.
How Can I Prepare My Will?
You can prepare your will on your own, but this is not recommended.
Preparing a will on your own almost always means leaving something crucial out or someone out. It also leads to more emotional decisions rather than logical ones. Moreover, there’s always the chance of including something that cannot be acted on lawfully.
If you’re preparing a will, the best course of action is to contact a trusted Wills & Estates solicitor.
JB Solicitors is an experienced and trusted estate planning law firm. We’ll help you every step of the way, from managing your assets to writing the will and finding a suitable executor. With our direction, you can rest assured you’re hiring talented solicitors to plan your estate.
You can even get the process started online, right from home! This is the fastest, most affordable way to get started on your will. We’ll set up a meeting with one of our Wills & Estates solicitors for you and give you a detailed list of the documents you need to finalise your will.
- A will is a legal document that indicates your wishes regarding the care of your children, as well as the distribution of your assets after your death.
- If you do not have a will in place, decisions about your estate will be in the hands of judges or state officials which may result in decisions against your wishes, and cause family strife.
- You can prepare a will yourself, but it is highly recommended that you seek legal assistance to ensure you are doing everything correctly.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is important to note when asking the question of ‘what is a will?’ to seek legal advice to obtain a complete understanding of everything a will entails,
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions regarding ‘What is a will’, wills in general or any other family law matters, check out some of our other informative articles.