Suitable for an individual making a Will, this type of Will includes:
- Appointment of Executors
- Noting any gifts
- Nominating a beneficiary who will receive the remainder of the Estate after all other beneficiaries have received their inheritance and all debts have been paid (residual beneficiary).
A mirror Will produces two Wills that will be largely identical in content, but will mirror each other.
This type of Will is appropriate for people who intend to leave their Estate to their spouse and then to alternative beneficiaries on the surviving spouse’s death.
A trust is an arrangement whereby assets are handed over to a number of individuals to hold and invest on behalf of someone else. This can be an immediate post death interest Will (the beneficiaries are specified now, for example – I give my Estate to A for her life and then to B) or discretionary trust Will (wide discretion is given to the trustees to benefit those individuals who most need it, for example – I give my Estate to my trustees with wide discretion to benefit any of the following: my children, my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews etc.).
Your share (or half share in the property) is put into trust to protect the value of it for your beneficiaries. This is a useful tool if you are concerned about preserving your Estate and want to protect it from being used to pay for care home fees for your spouse after your death.
These trusts allow someone to benefit immediately on your death whilst safeguarding the value of the assets for others. This type of arrangement is becoming more common as people divorce, remarry and have 'second' families as in this example :
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are married; Mr. Smith has two children from a previous relationship. Mr. Smith wants to ensure Mrs. Smith is looked after when he dies but he also wants to benefit his two children. Using a flexible trust, Mrs. Smith would be able to continue living in any property and would be entitled to the income from any cash but the house and the cash lump sum would be protected and pass to his children on Mrs. Smith's death.
Keeping the trust flexible means that the trustees can advance £10,000 to the spouse if she wanted to redecorate; end the trust and advance the total fund to the spouse if the children decide they don't need it; or if the spouse is going into a care home, can bring the trust to an end and advance the sums to the children.
These trusts can be the most useful type of trusts – rather than deciding now how you would like your Estate to be split, you can leave it up to the trustees to decide depending on the circumstances as they are when you die. These can also be extremely useful if you have a beneficiary in receipt of Government benefits. To place their inheritance into a discretionary trust does not affect their entitlement to means tested benefits. These trusts are also advisable with disabled beneficiaries. Unmarried couples can also benefit from considerable inheritance tax savings if they use this type of trust.
A Living Will allows you to specify your wishes with regards to medical treatment should you lose capacity, in particular with regards to refusing life sustaining treatment. While this document does not have to be followed by the doctor, a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney that specifically deals with your wishes regarding healthcare and treatment is binding.