A Single Will is suitable for any individual person who is looking to record their wishes. It's often presumed that Single Wills are for people who are not in a relationship or who are divorced. This is not necessarily true. You can make a Single Will if you are married, in a civil partnership or in a relationship, and in fact it will be the best option if your partner already has a Will or has different wishes to yourself.
However, if you and your partner are looking to create very similar Wills, it is worth you exploring the option of Mirror Wills. Furthermore, a Single Will may not be appropriate if you are married but have children from a previous relationship, or you want to put provisions in place for loved ones who are vulnerable. In these circumstances, you should consider a Trust Will (see below).
Mirror Wills are designed for couples who have almost identical wishes. Two separate documents will be produced, one for each person, but the contents of the wills 'mirror' each other. You do not have to be married or in a civil partnership to make a Mirror Will, and it's often more cost-effective for couples to choose Mirror Wills. There is still flexibility to make very personal decisions, such as your funeral arrangements.
But if you and your partner do not share the same wishes, you should both consider making Single Wills. For example, it may be that one person is the sole owner of a property and wants to leave it to a family member.
It's also important to note that, with Mirror Wills, either person can change their Will without the other person knowing, or after the first person has died. This means that you cannot be 100% certain of the other person's Will remaining the same.
There are different types of Trust Wills and they each do different things.
A Discretionary Trust Will can be used to leave your Estate, or part of it, to a Trust created in your Will. You can choose people to manage the Trust (called Trustees) and name people you would like to include as potential beneficiaries of the Trust. You then give your Trustees total discretion over which of the potential beneficiaries actually receives anything from your Estate, when and how.
Trust Wills Calculator
Find out how much you could protect
Trust Wills can be used by co-owners of a property, for example a husband and wife, to protect their home and savings from things such as care home fees and remarriage.
The calculator below tells you how much you could protect.
House value must be between £10,000 and £10,000,000
Beneficiaries must be between 1 and 40
A trust will could protect up to £0*
Including a trust in your will means you can:
Protect up to £0 for each of your children or beneficiaries
When you die, your property will usually go to your partner if you have mirror wills or no will.
If your partner then needs to go into a care home, the entire value of the property can be used to pay for their care home fees (around £40,000 a year).
These fees are taken until there’s £23,250** left. This could have a very big impact on the inheritance you want to pass to your children or other beneficiaries. If you put in place a Trust Will, half your home and savings could be protected in a trust when one of you dies, meaning it is excluded from care home fee calculations. So, there might be more to pass on to your loved ones.
Protect your home from passing to someone other than those you intended
Including a trust can give you control over what happens to your property in the long-term. You can name who you want to inherit the property, whilst allowing someone to live there after your death (but they will not own it). Then, when they die, it will go to the person or people you’ve named.
For example, you could include a trust in your will that says you want your children to ultimately get the property, while allowing your partner to live there for as long as they need.
When your partner dies, your children would get the property. This prevents your share of the property passing to anyone other than the people you want to benefit, for example a new husband/wife if your partner marries after your death.
Ensure your savings and investments provide for your partner during their lifetime, but ultimately pass to your children or other beneficiaries
If you own any savings, shares or investments in your sole name, you can put them into a trust to guarantee who benefits from them.
You can name who you want to eventually get the savings, shares and investments (such as any children) whilst allowing someone else, such as your partner, to get any interest they produce. When that person dies (or on a date that you’ve chosen) the savings, shares and investments will go to the person or people you’ve chosen.
* These calculations assume joint ownership of the house and savings.
** Reference care fees - the £23,250 figure is correct in England as at March 2020 (figures may vary in other parts of the UK)
Property Trust Wills
A Property Trust Will lets you create a Trust in your Will that looks after your property (or your share of it). You would appoint Trustees to manage the Trust but the terms of the Trust allows you to give someone (normally a spouse or partner) the right to benefit from the Trust during their lifetime.
If there is property in the Trust then this benefit is the right to reside in the property. If the Trust contains cash because the property in the Trust has been sold, then the benefit is the right to receive the income generated from the Trust. However the underlying capital in the Trust is protected for other beneficiaries and is usually distributed to them once the spouse or partner has died.
A Life Interest Trust Will is similar to a Property Trust Will, but enables you to put the whole or part of your estate in the Will Trust, rather than just your property. As with the Property Trust, you still need to choose Trustees and name someone to benefit from the Trust during their lifetime. If there is property in the Trust then this benefit is the right to reside in the property. If the Trust contains cash, then the benefit is the right to receive the income generated from the Trust assets. However the underlying capital in the Trust is protected for other beneficiaries.
If you are not sure what type of Will is best for you, our professional Will Writing team can help. We will discuss your situation and your personal requirements with you, recommending a Will that best suits your needs.