The Four Types of Wills and What They Include

The Four Types of Wills and What They Include
The Four Types of Wills and What They Include

There are many different types of families in Australia – and many types of Wills to suit your unique circumstances. Choosing the right property Will for you will benefit your loved ones in the future, so make sure you’re informed on the different types of Wills available.

Simple Wills

A conventional simple Will is what most think of when they consider property Wills. A short document, this document is more than enough to nominate an executor – to manage the Will-maker’s estate after their death – and the beneficiaries of the estate.

In simple Wills, the entire estate is usually passed on to the spouse or, if the spouse passed on before the Will-maker, their children. A simple Will also allows you to bequeath – gift – specific assets or finances to a person of your choosing, who need not be the main beneficiary of the estate.

Simple Wills make sure that a person doesn’t die intestate – without an property Will – so there will be a clear path forward after they pass on.

As straightforward as they come, simple Wills are best for people owning a narrow range of assets, who have not had multiple marriages or children from more than one relationship. Apart from bequests, simple Wills do not include complex clauses to account for large estates or blended families.

Mutual Wills

Since you’re sharing your life with them, you may choose to have a joint estate Will as well. Mutual Wills are an agreement between the couple to make an estate Will on the same binding terms.

Each of the spouses agree that when one of the couple dies, the surviving spouse will be bound by the provisions to the beneficiaries according to the wishes laid out in each property Will.

Mutual Wills legally bind the surviving spouse not to revoke the provisions of the agreed property Will, except with by express agreement between the couple.

The advantage of mutual Wills is that they help spouses to plan for their beneficiaries’ future. They’re often used to make sure your estate passes to your children, even if your surviving spouse remarries after your death.

However, they can also lead to litigation. If the surviving spouse creates a new property Will that contravenes the original Will, the beneficiaries under the previous Will can open court proceedings to enforce the mutual Will.

You should always seek advice from a solicitor before writing a Will in Australia.

Testamentary Trust Wills

As a more complex type of property Will, Testamentary Trust Wills allow you to establish Testamentary Trusts from your estate. The terms of the trust are included in the estate Will, making the Will document much longer and more complex than a conventional simple Will.

When the Will-maker dies, the specified estate falls into one or more Testamentary Trusts rather than being received outright by the beneficiaries.

At this point, the trustee determines when and how to distribute the beneficiaries’ shares of the estate. This can allow for flexibility and tax savings for beneficiaries.

The Trustee has full control over the assets in the Testamentary Trust, though it is the beneficiaries who receive the benefit. As the trustee has control of the assets and how they are distributed, it is important to choose someone you trust for this role.

Because the assets are held in a trust, rather than personally received by the beneficiaries, they are also more protected. For example, assets held in a trust may be protected from the claims of an ex-spouse if a beneficiary is going through a divorce, and it is more difficult for creditors to claim against assets held in a trust in the event of bankruptcy.

Statutory Wills

A Statutory Will isn’t made by the person in question, but by the Court. The Court writes the Will on behalf of someone without the testamentary capacity to write their own Will.

Statutory Wills may apply in cases of a mental disability or illness that impacts a person’s capacity for writing a Will in Australia. This includes neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia, as well as psychiatric conditions.

If the person owns or inherits a large value of assets, a Statutory Will is needed to handle how the estate will be dealt with in the event of their death.

The Court will stipulate how the person’s estate is to be distributed. The judge will consider the evidence to determine whether the Will is that which the person would most likely have made for themselves if they were able to. They make sure the estate is distributed fairly amongst all relevant parties.

You should always seek advice from a solicitor when considering the need for a Statutory Will.

Create a Will Online

Writing your own Will is the best way to safeguard your assets for the benefit of the ones you love. Whichever type of Will you write, your property Will should include:

  • The Executor –  the person you nominate to carry out your instructions.
  • A list of all your assets and beneficiaries.
  • A guardian for any children you have under the age of 18, as well as pets.
  • Specific gifts you want to leave behind, such as sentimental items.
  • Whether you want to leave any assets to a charity.
  • Your wishes for your funeral.

You may be put off from writing your own Will, under the belief that it’s an expensive and time-consuming process. However, it’s convenient and simple to create a Will online. Usually, it takes a matter of minutes to complete an online Will, -at an affordable price.

Create a Will online today with Your Wills.