Knowing The Different Types Of Wills

If you are unfamiliar with wills and probate law, it may surprise you to know that several different types of wills exist. Deciding which will best suit you depends entirely on how you wish to distribute your assets to your family and friends after your passing.

Simple (Statutory) Will

Perfect for those who own small or uncomplicated estates. Preparation is easy since the testator will only need to fill in blanks or check boxes on a standard template issued by the state. Since not all states consider simple wills binding, be sure to consult a probate attorney to learn more about filling one out.

Pour-Over Will

If you’ve decided to establish a living trust, then a pour-over will should be your choice as you can list the trust as your beneficiary. At the time of your passing, should there be any probate items not named in the trust itself, the items will then pour into said trust where they will be distributed according to the terms listed.

Conditional/Contingent Wills

This type of will is specific since it states that the provisions listed therein are only valid should a certain event happen or not. For example, if a testator is about to undergo a surgical procedure he/she may not survive, they will then leave a conditional will stating that in the event of their death due to the surgery, the document will stipulate the distribution of his/her assets accordingly. However, if the person dies of another cause, then the document will be invalid.

Couple’s Wills

There are three types of couple’s wills, the differences of each being important.

  • Mutual Will – Two separate wills with identical provisions. However, each stipulates that the surviving spouse will not alter the contents.
  • Joint Will – A single will, written and signed by both spouses. Typically, this type of will leaves all assets to the surviving spouse. After the death of the second, the will outlines what is to become of the assets. Note: the surviving spouse cannot change the will following the death of the first.
  • Mirror Will – Almost identical to a joint will. However, the surviving spouse may change the will after the death of the first.

Holographic Will

This will is not witnessed and is written and signed entirely by the testator. Very few states recognize this type of will as it is very vulnerable to being challenged in court.

Oral Wills

As the name suggests, these wills are spoken rather than written. As with holographic wills, these are recognized in very few states and are severely restricted.

Living Wills

These wills are in a class of their own in that they stipulate what type of medical treatment you wish to be performed should you become incapacitated.

Contact Us

No matter which type of will you wish to have, contact the experienced wills and probate attorneys of the Barrera, Sanchez & Associates Law Firm of McAllen at (956) 287-7555.

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