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United Kingdom (UK) - Wills

In the United Kingdom there are several types of will to choose from when leaving beneficiaries an inheritance. Before you consider the choice of wills, you should understand that you will need a solicitor to help you write it. Wills written by you without any solicitor’s help may be thrown out of court during probate.

All wills go through probate to ensure there is no contention before the inheritance is divided. Many online forms exist today which tell people that they can complete a will in five minutes and then have it notarised. However, even these wills have had issues or have left certain areas of the estate undivided, creating more problems after death. This means that the beneficiaries have to wait for the court to decide what is truly valid. If this cannot be determined then the will is turned out and UK law is used to decide on beneficiaries. In this case the estate is first given to any living spouse before being divided up equally among the children of the deceased.

Single Will

The single will is the simplest option for any person that is unmarried or who wishes to keep their property separate from marriage. The will explains who the executor of the will is going to be; states any gifts you may wish to give out; and then outlines the main beneficiary of your estate. The main beneficiary is the person who will need to ensure all debts have been fulfilled before inheritance can be received.

Mirror Will

This type of will is basically a couple’s will in which two wills are created as exact mirrors of each other. One spouse will write a will leaving everything to the other person and the other will do the same. In mirror wills other beneficiaries can also be named. Usually these secondary beneficiaries receive small gifts or are in second place to receive the bulk of the estate if the spouse named is deceased prior to the death of the will writer.

Trust Wills

A trust can be set up for more than one individual benefiting from the death of the deceased. This is a way to protect the inheritance from being spent all at once, and also allows money to be invested so that it continues to grow. One issue with inheriting a large sum of money is inheritance tax. Trusts are a way to protect the bulk of the money by allowing only a small amount of the greater sum to be accessed. They also divide any money left to multiple people as per the deceased’s wishes, making it clearer who will obtain what.

Property Trust

This is a type of trust that can be set up if there is property involved in your estate. It is again a way to protect the estate and any fees that might apply from inheritance tax. The property trust ensures the property is kept, but any interest from the property trust is used for care fees for your spouse or children.

Flexible Trust

This type of trust will allows benefits immediately upon your death, but also protects the value of your assets for other beneficiaries. This can protect someone with a larger family who wishes to favour some members over others.

Discretionary Trust

This type of trust is set up to show how you wish your estate to be split where it may differ from UK laws regarding beneficiaries and their shares. This is particularly used with government benefits.

Living Will

A living will is set up for medical treatment in the event that you lose your capacity to state what type of help you wish to receive, such as life sustaining measures. There is also the Lasting Power of Attorney that comes into use in such situations as you cannot state your medical and health care needs for quality of life.

It is important to change and update your will as your life changes. If you divorce and remarry, you definitely need an updated will to cover your entire situation.

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