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Types of Wills

There are many types of wills and each will serves a different purpose.

  • Simple Will: A simple, or statutory, will distributes property from an uncomplicated estate i.e. uncomplicated finances. It is a “one-size-fits-all” document that works well for individuals will small or uncomplicated estates.


  • Living Will: A living will does not distribute property after death, instead it gives instructions on what type of medical treatment the individual wishes to receive if they become too ill to communicate.


  • Joint Will: A joint will is created by two individuals who wish to leave their property to each other, it is one document that leaves everything to the surviving spouse and then outlines who receives the property after the second person dies. The survivor cannot change this will.


  • Reciprocal Wills: Reciprocal, or mirror, wills are identical wills partners utilize to leave everything to the other person, the survivor however can change the will at any time.


  • Testamentary Trust Will: A testamentary trust will is a will that puts some of an individual’s property into a trust (different types of trusts will be discussed later).


  • Pour-over Will: If you have set up a living trust already, this type of will can name your trust as beneficiary, and any assets not already named in the trust will “pour” into it and be distributed according to its terms.


  • Conditional Will: A conditional, or contingent, will specifies that its provisions are only valid if a certain event or string of events happen or do not happen, i.e. turning a specific age.


  • Holographic Will: A holographic, or handwritten, will is a will written mostly or entirely in your own handwriting, holographic wills do not require an attorney, essentially they are free.
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