What type of will do I need?
You may not realise it, but when it comes to making a will there are different types to choose from and, as Deborah Adams, head of private client department at Parnalls in Launceston explains, the right type of will for you will depend on your circumstances.
‘Making a will helps to ensure that when you die your assets go to the people you want them to, but there are various wills available to cater for your needs’, says Deborah Adams ‘these range from wills designed for couples who share a vision about how their assets should be dealt with, to those intended for armed services personnel about to embark on active military operations and who do not have the time to comply with all the usual legal requirements needed to make a conventional will; there are even wills that can be created by the court for people who have lost the mental capacity to make a will themselves.’
A wills specialist can help you to decide which type of will is right for you.
A standard will is a relatively straightforward document which sets out who should receive any money, property or personal items that you own at the time of your death, once any debts or liabilities have been settled. This type of will tends to be suitable for people with relatively uncomplicated financial and personal affairs.
To make a standard will, and indeed most other types of will, there are certain legal requirements that need to be met, including:
- being aged 18 or over, and of sound mind, at the time the will is prepared;
- having the terms of your will recorded in writing;
- signing your will, or getting someone to sign it for you if you are unable to do so, and doing this in the presence of two independent witnesses;
- making the will voluntarily and without pressure from anyone else; and
- having full knowledge, and giving approval, of what the will says.
A specialist will may be appropriate in circumstances where provision over and above that typically found in a standard will is required to carry out your wishes in the most effective and efficient way possible. For example, where guardianship arrangements for children need to be considered or the creation of a trust is required to drip feed money to a vulnerable relative. A specialist will is also required where your wealth exceeds the rate at which inheritance tax becomes payable, and therefore tax planning advice is required.
This type of will must comply with the legal formalities required for a standard will, but will be accompanied by other supporting documents needed to give effect to your wishes.
A mutual will is suitable for two people who share a close connection and an agreed vision for how their assets should be distributed on their respective deaths. This type of will is common among married couples and civil partners who want to ensure, for example, that when one of them dies the other automatically inherits everything, and when the second of them dies everything then passes to their children or some other agreed person or persons.
Once made, a mutual will cannot be revoked without the agreement of both of the original makers. This type of will is therefore popular among people who want to ensure that their money stays within the family and is not diverted elsewhere, for example in the case of the surviving spouse remarrying.
Mirror wills are two separate, but often near identical wills, made by people with a close connection to one another, and are particularly common among married couples, civil partners and couples who have lived together for a long time. In many cases the provisions of these wills are similar to those described for mutual wills, so everything is left to the surviving spouse or partner initially and is then passed on to any children or other agreed beneficiaries. However, the key difference between mirror wills and a mutual will, is that because each will is prepared individually there is nothing to stop one individual deciding to change the terms of their will at any time, and where this happens there is no obligation to inform the other person that this has been done.
Mirror wills, therefore, cannot guarantee that initially agreed arrangements will not be subject to change at some point in the future.
A privileged will is a special type of informal will where the usual legal formalities needed to make a will are dispensed with.
The ability to make a privileged will is reserved to members of the armed forces and associated support personnel who are already, or are about to become, engaged in active military operations, and to mariners and merchant seamen who have departed, or are about to depart, on a voyage.
Importantly, in the context of armed service personnel, there is no need to be aged 18 or over to make a privileged will.
A statutory will is a special type of will, made by the court on behalf of someone who is unable to make a will for themselves, for example because they have been involved in an accident or have otherwise lost mental capacity. To make a statutory will you need to apply to the Court of Protection who will decide what the terms of the will should be, taking account of the money available, the people who should potentially benefit and any known wishes of the person on whose behalf the will is being made.
When making a will it is also worth considering making a letter of wishes to explain why certain decisions about inheritance have been made or to confirm how you want matters to be handled after your death. It is also usually prudent to make a lasting power of attorney and advanced decision alongside the will, to ensure that if you lose the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself while you are still alive, someone you know and trust is appointed to make them for you and that your views on life sustaining treatment are respected.
For a confidential discussion about making a will or updating an existing one, or for any other trusts, estate or probate matter, please contact Deborah Adams on 01566 772375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Preparing to sell your Launceston property
Staying safer in video meetings
Making Sure Your Great New Home Comes With Clean Air
Property Market Re-Opens in England
Coronavirus: Wills and Powers of Attorney FAQ
Medical Care Received Not Up to Scratch?
Had an Accident in Someone's Home?
Accident or Injury Involving a Dog?
Social Distancing No Obstacle for Parnall's Mobile Document Signing Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Commercial Property Legal FAQs
Rent Charge Suspensions: Protecting Your Interests
Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...
Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision
Advising You in Uncertain Times
Could carelessness on social media land you in court?
Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?
What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place
Social Media Training for Businesses
Information to gather for your probate solicitor
Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it
Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.