Types of Wills

A free guide to the different types of Wills available in the United Kingdom.

Please note: this article should NOT be considered legal advice. Always consult a professional.

When determining what happens to your money, assets and possessions after you die it is important to remember that there are different types of Will to choose from. Because of this, analysing which one is right for your circumstances should be undertaken as carefully as possible.


Single Wills

A ‘single’ Will is suitable for an individual deciding on their own circumstances. The general purposes of a Will, such as appointing an executor and noting gifts, are included. A beneficiary of your Estate will also be appointed after any incurring debts and fees have been paid.

Mirror Wills

Mirror Wills are named as such because two Wills are produced which are mainly identical in their content and instruction. They are utilised by those who have a chance of outliving one of the main beneficiaries, commonly the spouse or next of kin. Alternative plans are made in respect to unforeseen circumstances.

Trust Wills

Some Wills are based on a degree of trust in the sense that they will be handed over to selected individuals to invest on behalf of the eventual beneficiaries.

‘Immediate Post Death Interest Wills’ specifically name these recipients in the course of any potential contest of the Will – for example in the case a person or their spouse has been married previously, or remarries in the future.

A ‘Discretionary Trust Will’ on the other hand gives more responsibility to the trustee to make a decision on where the money will go. This is usually to a close family member who needs the assets the most. These types of Wills can also be used to cut down their inheritance tax liability.

Property Trust Wills

These types of Wills are designed to ensure your property, or your share in a property, is correctly looked after so its value doesn’t decrease. They are useful for older couples, where if one partner should pass away, paying for a care home can be avoided for the surviving individual.

Flexible Trust Wills

Flexible trust Wills are used more commonly nowadays as people are more likely to divorce, remarry, adopt and start ‘second’ families. This type of trust can release some funds or assets to a party immediately, whilst safeguarding the rest for other beneficiaries. The following example clarifies this in further detail:

“Mr Jones has 2 children from a previous marriage. On his death, he wishes to safeguard his children’s future whilst also ensuring his current wife is looked after. In this instance, a flexible trust can allow his wife to remain in the house they currently reside in but then releasing it to the children after her death.”

Discretionary Trust Wills

A commonly used Will comes in the form of a discretionary trust. Responsibility for your Estate is handed over to the trustees, who will decide between themselves the best course of action for your assets on your death. It aids beneficiaries on assisted living payments from the Government as it does not affect their entitlement to benefits.

Living Wills

If you are worried about the state of your mental health deteriorating in the future, then it is advisable to make a Will whilst you are sound of mind. A living Will allows you to specify your desires if your capacity to think coherently is lost.

A decision can also be made on whether your life should be sustained and certain medical procedures given to you, for example, an amputation or blood transfusion. Medical professionals will be obliged to adhere to the wishes as requested in your Will in respect to future healthcare.

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