All wills need to meet specific standards in order to be deemed legitimate in a court of law. The individual creating the will, or the testator, needs to be at least 18 years of age and of “sound mind.” That simply means they need to have the legal competence to create a will. The testator needs to select an executor to oversee the will, clarify how the property should be allocated after death, and sign and date the will in the company of a required number of witnesses. There are various types of wills. This post will discuss four common types of wills.
The 4 Different Types of Wills Include:
A Simple Will
A simple will is most frequently used when all that is required is guidance on how to allocate simple assets from the estate to the heirs. Assuming the nature of the assets is relatively straightforward, a simple will is more than likely adequate to do the job. Like all wills, a simple will is required to be in writing and should be typed rather than handwritten. The general components of a will is the name of the testator, their address and marital status; and guidelines as to what property goes to what heirs. The executor to the estate needs to also be named, in addition to a guardian for minor children. The testator and the witnesses are required to sign and then date the will.
A Living Will
The purpose of A living will is totally different from that of the 3 other types of wills discussed here. The purpose of A living will is to provide in-depth guidelines about the type of medical treatment or lifesaving steps you want to be used if you become incapable to convey those wishes yourself. For example, your living will could detail that in the event that you become gravely ill and unconscious, you don’t want to be fed through a tube or on a ventilator, even if you would die lacking those steps.
A Joint Will
Joint wills are typically used by spouses that plan to leave their property to one another. The surviving testator will inherit the entirety of the deceased spouse’s estate. At that point, when the surviving testator dies, the remaining estate will be allocated to the couple’s chosen heirs, according to the terms of the will. Keep in mind that a joint will can’t be rescinded once the first testator dies. The formatting of a joint will is also comparable to a simple will.
A Testamentary Trust Will
A testamentary trust will is different since it includes requirements that places a part of your estate into a trust. On the basis of the terms of the testamentary trust, your assets are allocated to your heirs, through a trustee who manages those assets. The most common instance is a spendthrift trust, typically used in cases where a beneficiary is believed to be financially careless. A spendthrift trust enables the trustee to allocate the trust assets little by little and under specific conditions. The formatting of a testamentary trust will is typically quite comparable to that of a simple will.
An Executor or Personal Representative is Required to be Designated
A necessary element of every will is the designation of a trustworthy individual to make sure the terms of your will are upheld. The executor is accountable for guiding your estate through the probate process and guaranteeing that your property is allocated to your heirs, in accordance with the will. An executor may either be a professional, a member of your family or a friend. When your estate is quite simple, a professional might not be needed.
Choosing Which Property to Include in Your Will
The first step in choosing which specific property will be left to who is to create a list of everything you that you own. The next move is to get rid of all property and/ or assets that are not needed to go through probate for them to be left to your heirs. For instance, life insurance policies and, retirement accounts that have named beneficiaries, are not needed to go through probate prior to those beneficiaries receiving their share. When you have an idea about what is included in your estate you can make certain inheritances in your will. The more specific you make your terms in the will, it makes the probate process more simplified and streamlined will be for your family.
- Schomer, Scott. “4 Types of Wills and What They Should Include [UPDATED 2020]: Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorneys.” Schomer Law Group, Los Angeles Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorneys, 8 Jan. 2020, www.schomerlawgroup.com/blog/estate-planning/4-types-of-wills-and-what-they-should-include/.
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