Types of Last Wills and How to Choose

Photo by bruce mars via Unsplash

A will is a legal document, as you probably know. It describes how you’d like to distribute your assets upon your death. It’s an essential part of estate planning, but it’s not always as easy to draft as you might think. There are many different kinds of wills, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The type of will that’s best for you depends on your situation and goals for the future. Let’s take a look at some common types of last wills and how to choose the best for you!

Simple Will

The simplest form of will, a simple will provides for distribution of your assets after death. It is not the most flexible type of estate plan, but it is easy to create and change if necessary.

A simple will lets you name an executor – the person responsible for executing your final wishes. It focuses on providing instructions on property distribution among beneficiaries. If you’re married, a simple will also covers any assets that your spouse and you acquired together.

Simple wills are best for people who have a small estate or no children (such as single people). They don’t require any specific legal provisions beyond naming an executor. Just set out some basic instructions about what happens with the deceased’s property when they pass away.

Testamentary Trust Will

A testamentary trust is a trust that came into effect by a will. You name the trustee of the trust in the will. A common example of a testamentary trust would be if you wanted to leave assets to your children. In that case you may keep them from accessing the assets until they reach a certain age. These are often as 18 or 21 years old. In this case, you would name someone else who can manage those funds. The trust remains in effect until your child reaches an appropriate age for distribution.

Joint Will

You might have heard the term mirror wills instead of a joint will. In principal, these two terms are very close to each other. Two (or more) people sign one singular will as their own individual will. As a result, regardless who dies first, the will that the probate court will use is the same. That’s a good choice for couples since partners and spouses can give all assets to one another.

An attorney is often not necessary for this type of will. However, if your estate exceeds $25,000 ($50,000 if you’re married) then most people would choose a lawyer. This way they make sure that there are no complications.

Living Will

A living will is a legal document that states your wishes for medical care. That is if you are unable to make your own decisions. While it can be a helpful tool, it’s important to understand what living wills do and don’t mean.

A living will is different from a will. It doesn’t give instructions about how property distribution after death. It also differs from a power of attorney. After all it does not necessary authorize someone else to make all of your financial decisions on your behalf of you. A power of attorney only allows someone else to act in some specific ways on behalf of you. For example, handling certain financial or business matters, or making health care decisions if necessary.

A living will is never an alternative to any legal documents related to health care decisions. This is including durable powers of attorney. Instead, it shows the medical professionals who may need access to such information. Or where they can find this information if needed at some point during treatment or recovery. It might also state what type(s) of medical treatments are acceptable under specific situations e.g., life support versus comfort measures.

Deathbed Will

Deathbed wills were the most common type of last will in the past. A deathbed will is a will that a person makes when they are on their deathbed. Their intention usually is to make sure that all their property goes to the right people. The testator (the person who makes the will) is not advised by an attorney, but instead writes it himself. If you want to write your own last will, you should make sure you have enough time to do so and are in a serious state of mind when doing so. Otherwise, the probate court might have difficulties accepting your will.

Holographic Wills

A holographic will is a handwritten will. In other words, this is an old fashioned type of will that you write down yourself. A valid holographic will must usually meet the following requirements:

  • A holographic will’s testator writes it in his or her own handwriting.

  • The testator writes the entire document, without anyone helping him or her with penmanship.

  • You also need to sign the document (or mark with an X). If you cannot physically sign your name, another person may mark their place on the document with an “X”. However, this person must not have any interest in what happens to your estate. Often this person should not just be someone who was there when you wrote out your wishes. After all, if they were present when you wrote out your wishes, then why wouldn’t they help you?

Nuncupative Wills

Nuncupative wills are verbal wills, so not in writing. A nuncupative will may be invalid in some states so make sure your state accept them. If a nuncupative will is made orally, it’s recommended that a witness record it so there is proof of what you said.

Knowing what type of will is best for you is very beneficial

It’s important to figure out which type of will works best for you. This way you can avoid getting tied up in legal red tape. If you have simple needs, a simple will is probably the best option. However, if you have complex demands and then a more complicated will may be necessary. That also includes wishes that you want your beneficiaries to take into account.

The most common types of last wills are:

  • Simple wills.

  • Codicils (a supplement or amendment).

Myend's Last Wills

Our last will and testament options are also wide here at Myend. We take pride in offering a variety of last wills so you can always find one that works for you. Choose between a simple or testamentary trust. Upgrade also to a premium account to get another premium account as a gift. This way you and your spouse can make mirror wills!

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of different types of wills, but the most important thing is that you have one. We hope that you now know more about different types of last wills and how to choose one. It’s never too early to start thinking about what will happen with your assets when you pass away. If you don’t have a will, the state will decide who gets what. That could mean that some family members get more than others – or nothing at all!

Myend offers the perfect estate and end-of-life planning for all! Regardless of whether you’re young, old, married or single we have a will for you. Have a look here to learn more. And if you’re ready for action, sign up today for your free account! The estate planning of the future is here today.


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Myend is not a law firm, it does not engage in the practice of law, and it does not render any official legal advice. Therefore, you are hereby advised to seek your own legal counsel regarding any legal issues. Myend’s articles are meant to be taken as suggestions and therefore Myend carries no responsibility for the user’s actions.