Sample Wills
Sample Wills
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Sample Wills

The following sample wills are designed to illustrate the structure and content of the types of wills that are commonly used in the United States today; i.e., simple wills, complex wills, disclaimer wills, and pour-over wills.  In addition, we have included a sample codicil to a will.  Each of these types of wills is described below.  

To view a sample will or codicil, simply click on the appropriate links below.

Simple Wills1:

SIMPLE WILL 1:   This sample will is described as a "simple" will.  It is intended for a married person with minor children, when there is no concern about federal estate taxation.  Specific gifts of cash and personal property are made to certain individuals.  The rest of the property (residuary estate) passes to the surviving spouse, if living; otherwise to surviving children.  Property passing to minor children is held by guardians named under the will.  No trusts are created under this sample will.   moreinfo   link to sample wills  To Simple Will 1 . . .

SIMPLE WILL 2:   This sample will is described as a "simple" will.  It is intended for a widow with adult children, when there is no concern about federal estate taxation.  Specific gifts of cash and personal property are made to certain individuals and charities.  The rest of the property (residuary estate) passes to the children, in equal shares.  A "per stirpes" distribution is provided for descendants of deceased children.  No trusts are created under this sample will.   moreinfo   link to sample wills  To Simple Will 2 . . .

 

SIMPLE WILL 3:   This sample will is described as a "simple" will.  It is intended for a widow with no children or other descendants, when there is no concern about federal estate taxation.  Specific gifts of cash and personal property are made to certain individuals and charities.  The rest of the property (residuary estate) passes to charity.  No trusts are created under this sample will.   moreinfo   link to sample wills  To Simple Will 3 . . .

Complex Wills2:

COMPLEX WILL 1:   This sample will is described as a "complex" will.  It is intended for a married person with minor children, when federal estate taxation is a major concern.  No Specific gifts of cash or personal property are made under this complex Will.  For estate tax purposes, all of the Testator's property is allocated between the spouse, if living, and a family trust created under the will (also called a "unified credit" trust or "by-pass" trust).  The allocation is based upon a "fractional marital" formula.  Separate testamentary trusts are created for children under age 30 upon the death of both parents.  Guardians are named for minor children. No living trusts are utilized.  moreinfo   link to sample wills  To Complex Will 1 . . .

Disclaimer Wills:

DISCLAIMER WILL 1:   This sample will is described as a "disclaimer" will.  It is intended for a married person with minor children when it is uncertain as to whether federal estate taxes will be levied on either or both estates.  Specific gifts of cash and personal property are made under this disclaimer Will.  All the rest of the property (the "residuary estate") is given to the spouse, if living; otherwise the property passes to the Testator's living trust.  If the spouse does survive the Testator but disclaims some or all of the property, then the disclaimed property passes to the Testator's living trust.  The property passing to the Testator's living trust, if any, is exempt from federal estate taxation by virtue of the unified credit.  Guardians are named for minor children under this sample will.   link to sample wills  To Disclaimer Will 1 . . .

Pour-Over Wills:

POUR-OVER WILL 1:   This sample will is described as a "pour-over" will.  It is intended for a married person who has an existing living trust.  In this case, the will is used to pick up any property that is not in the living trust at the time of the Testator's death and transfer it (i.e., "pour it over") to the living trust so that it can be distributed along with other property already in the trust.  This particular pour-over will does not contain any specific gifts of cash or personal property because such properties will be transferred to the living trust during the Testator's lifetime and those gifts are provided for under the trust instrument.  Besides "pouring over" property to the living trust, this pour-over will serves an important role in naming guardians for minor children and naming personal representatives to settle the Testator's estate.   link to sample wills  To Pour-Over Will 1 . . .

Codicils (Amendments):

CODICIL 1:   This codicil amends Pour-Over Will 1 above.  moreinfo   link to sample wills  To Codicil 1 . . .

 

 

 

1 Simple Wills are so named because they do not contain provisions to reduce or eliminate the federal estate tax. In addition, many estate planning professionals also hold that Simple Wills do not create any testamentary trusts, although the creation of a testamentary trust for the benefit of minor children may be an exception.  Simple Wills are used mainly by individuals whose estates are not large enough to be subject to the federal estate tax.  See a brief discussion of the Federal Estate Tax in our "Glossary of Terms."  Also see our Sample Wills above.

 

2 Complex Wills are so named because they do contain provisions to reduce or eliminate the federal estate tax. Complex Wills are used mainly by individuals whose estates are large enough to be subject to the federal estate tax.  See a brief discussion of the Federal Estate Tax in our Glossary of Terms.  Also see our Sample Wills above.

 

 

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