A Last Will and Testament will probably be the first estate planning document you create and may remain the foundation of your estate plan for years to come. Like most people, you may not realize that there are different types of Wills and that the type you choose to execute is important. The Long Island estate planning attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm explain the various options to help you decide which kind of Last Will and Testament is right for you and your estate plan.
- Simple Will. As the name implies, this is the most basic type of Will and is what most people who have a relatively modest estate choose to execute. A Simple Will can distribute uncomplicated assets and ensures that your estate will avoid intestate administration.
- Pour-Over Will. If you decide to use a trust agreement at some point to distribute most of your estate assets instead of relying primarily on a Last Will and Testament, you will also need to execute a Pour Over Will. A Pour Over Will is used to “pour over” the estate assets into the trust at the time of your death. The terms of the trust can then distribute your assets. A Pour Over Will also ensures that any overlooked or last-minute assets make it into the trust to prevent an intestate estate.
- Living Will. The term “Living Will” is a bit deceiving because this is not a document that facilitates the distribution of your estate. Instead, a Living Will is a type of advance directive that allows you to make healthcare decisions in advance in the event you are unable to make them yourself because of your own incapacity at some later point.
- Holographic Will. A holographic Will is a written document that you signed and dated in your own handwriting, but that is not witnessed. Most states no longer recognize holographic Wills; however, New York does only if the Testator was in the Armed Services and the Will was made during an armed conflict.
- Oral or Nuncupative Will. A nuncupative Will is an oral, or spoken, Will that the Testator tells someone (a witness) prior to death. Like holographic Wills, most states do not recognize nuncupative Wills. New York is an exception to that general rule and does recognize an oral Will if the following conditions are met:
- The Will was heard by at least two witnesses and
- The Will was made by:
- A Testator who is a member of the U.S. armed forces while in actual military or naval service during a time of armed conflict or
- A Testator who is a person who serves with or accompanies an armed force engaged in actual military or naval service during a time of armed conflict or
- A Testator who is a mariner while at sea.
- Reciprocal or Joint Will. If you are married and you want to leave all your property to your spouse and vice versa, a reciprocal or joint Will may be your best option. The surviving Testator will inherit everything upon the death of the first spouse. The idea is that when the surviving Testator passes away, the remaining estate will be distributed to the couple’s chosen beneficiaries, pursuant to the terms of the Will. Reciprocal Wills may be changed by the Testator, even after the death of one spouse. The primary difference with a joint Will is that the terms cannot be modified or revoked after the death of the first spouse.
- Conditional or Contingent Will. This is a type of Will that only takes effect upon the occurrence of a condition or event, such as a beneficiary attaining a specific age or getting married. If the condition or contingency does not occur, the Will does not take effect.
- International Will. If you own property in another country, you may need an international Will. In 1973, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) held a Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will. Wills that meet the requirements are recognized by participating countries.
Contact Long Island Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about which kind of Last Will and Testament is right for you, contact the Long Island estate planning attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm by calling us at 631-265-0599 to schedule your appointment.
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