4 Types of Wills

You probably recall our previous discussion regarding the importance of estate planning and all the different ways to address things like powers of attorney, wills, and trusts. This illustrates how there’s a solid diversity of estate-planning mechanisms available nowadays. How familiar are you with the different types of wills?

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4 Types of Wills

For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll keep the nomenclature digestible and explain four common types of wills: simple wills, joint wills, testamentary trust wills, and living wills. There are others, but these are the ones you’re most likely to encounter.

  • Simple Wills
      • This kind is aptly named because it reflects the most straightforward approach to wills. With it, you can designate to who you wish to leave your property/assets after you’ve passed. This is also a good way to determine who gets guardian rights to your children if you should pass away unexpectedly. In other words, wills are not solely for the elderly. All adults should consider preparing some type of will.
  • Joint Wills
      • AKA a “mirror will,” this type of estate document allows two people, often spouses, to bequeath their assets to one another. This type of will, however, is unalterable following the death of one of the spouses, which means that the surviving person has little recourse even if their circumstances change drastically.
  • Testamentary Trust Wills
      • You might consider this type of will if you wish to leave an inheritance to a young minor or someone unable/unwilling to manage your assets. It involves naming a trustee to handle their inheritance on their behalf. The trust document usually contains certain provisions or conditions for the benefactor to finally assume control of any property or assets.
  • Pour-Over Wills
    • This type of will bequeaths or “pours” all or some of the assets of the decedent into a pre-establish trust, sometimes referred to as a living trust.  The living trust allows the maker of the will to transfer some of their assets into the trust while they are alive, thereby avoiding probate, while the pour-over will transfer the remaining assets at the time of death into the same trust. This allows all assets to be controlled by the same document and keeps the ultimate distribution (and beneficiaries) of those assets private. Given the sometimes sensitive nature of these types of scenarios, it’s crucial to have an expert attorney draft living wills carefully to limit acrimony and confusion as much as possible. 

The Law Office of Kenneth J. Nota wants to help you if you want to finally safeguard your family’s inheritance rights through wise estate planning. Utilizing a legal expert for this task is a very prudent investment that will ensure your property stays with the loved ones you choose, rather than having it decided by the probate court. If you’d like to secure Ken Nota’s service or have any questions, feel free to call the office at 941-309-5270.