Here are some of the most common types of wills that may be included in your estate plan.
This document actually serves a very different purpose than most wills.
It is intended to provide instructions for the kinds of medical care you accept or decline if you are incapacitated. You can use it to provide instructions on what extraordinary measures you want used to save your life under specific circumstances.
Typically, in this document you address issues such as whether CPR can be used to resuscitate you or whether you want a feeding tube, artificial nutrition or a ventilator to keep you alive.
This is the standard document most people use when providing instructions for after their death. It is typed and signed in front of multiple witnesses. You can create a formal will yourself from scratch, make one using an online template or create one with the help of an attorney.
This is typically a formal will that lays out the basics of who will inherit but does not contain more complexities. Generally, you name an executor who oversees the probate process and manages assets until they are transferred to beneficiaries—a beneficiary is someone who inherits property after you die.
Testamentary Trust Will
A testamentary trust will creates a special type of trust that is established after death. The person making the will names a trustee and beneficiaries and provides instructions on how the trustee should use trust assets and when and how they should be transferred to beneficiaries.
This is often done in circumstances where someone leaves money or property to a minor child and wants to appoint a trustee to manage those assets on their behalf and ensure the funds are used appropriately.
Holographic wills are handwritten wills with no witness signatures. The creator writes and signs a document providing instructions for the distribution of assets after death.
While not accepted in all states, holographic wills can be considered legally valid in many jurisdictions as long as they meet certain requirements such as being in the handwriting of the deceased, are created without fraud or duress, are legible and provide clear instructions. The creator must also be of sound mind at the time the document is produced.
This is made by two or more people who wish to merge their instructions into a single document that details what they want to have happen after they pass.
Usually married couples make them, and they often specify that the first spouse who dies leaves all money and property to the other and then the property transfers to the couple’s children or grandchildren after the death of the last surviving spouse. Once the first spouse dies, the instructions can no longer be changed—they become irrevocable.