Probate law encompasses many topics that can oftentimes be hard to handle on one’s own. One of these is determining what’s to become of personal belongings such as vehicles, homes, jewelry, furniture, etc. through a will. Will it be handed down to your children and other heirs or would you prefer to donate it to a better cause? These are things that need to be considered first and foremost. On the other hand, deciding which type of will best suits your situation is another thing to consider.
Many people believe that wills are for the wealthy. This isn’t true at all. Anyone can draft a will, and we encourage you to take the time to do so. In this piece, we’ll be going over six different types of wills and how each can help you.
This is perhaps the most common type of drafted will. If you happen to be dealing with a small number of belongings or funds, then a simple will may be the best choice for you. It involves a relatively easy process that’s specifically designed to eliminate any obstacles. With this, you can name an executor – a person to handle the complexities of your estate upon your passing. Guardians can also be named to handle your young children’s care as well as their finances.
A pour-over will serves as a sort of safety net to catch any assets not transferred to or included within a living trust. Keep in mind that living trusts need to be “funded”. This means that personal assets need to be named in a trust document. One way to do this is by assigning the assets into the trust’s name. Although rare, assets can sometimes be left out of a trust for various reasons. This is where the pour-over will comes into play.
Conditional (Contingent) Wills
Conditional wills are unique in that they come into play only when a specific occurrence or non-occurrence takes place. For example, if you’ll be traveling on a business trip and something should happen to you, then you can stipulate what happens to your belongings. You can also list how your children’s care will be handled. If the occurrence never happens, then the will becomes ineffective. This will It can be holographic, meaning strictly handwritten. It can also be signed by witnesses and yourself.
Joint wills are drafted by more than one person, usually spouses. It simply combines the last wills of both into one document. If one spouse dies, the other will then inherit the entire estate of the deceased. Following the death of the second spouse, the estate and other belongings will go to the children of the two, if they should have any. Remember that joint wills differ from mutual wills, which brings us to our next point.
Mutual wills are drafted by spouses or partners together. With this document, both parties are bound not to change their own wills without first notifying the other. At times, the contract may allow a surviving party to create a new will on the condition that it include certain specified gifts.
This type of will is modeled on the idea that couples, both married and non-married, will have the same wishes concerning their estate. With a mirror will, no matter which spouse dies first, the estates of both will be handled similarly. It also works similarly to a last will in that it hands property and belongings to certain people after one of the two die. It then leaves whatever remains to the survivor.
We’re Here to Help
Wills give peace of mind in knowing that your belongings, funds and other possessions will be properly handled according to your wishes. Don’t wait until it’s too late to create this very important document. Our lawyers welcome you to contact us to discuss your options. We also specialize in divorces, so be sure to visit our divorce lawyers in McAllen!