Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 69 – Wills

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie




What is the correct abbreviation for “Last Will and Testament”?

Can we say “Will?
Or “Testament”?
Or “Last will”?
Or all three?

The only abbreviation for “Last Will and Testament” is “Will”. No other choice is possible.

Let’s look at a some of the kinds of wills that can be created in the UK:

Simple Will: This is the most common type of will and is suitable (adatto) for individuals with relatively straightforward (semplici) estates (patrimoni). It sets out (stabilisce) how assets should be distributed, appoints an executor, and may include guardianship (custodia legale/tutori) arrangements for minor children. Family courts respect the choices of parents who appoint guardians (nominano tutori) for their children through their wills and will only overturn (annullano) the choice if there is a highly compelling (molto convincente) reason to do so.

Joint Will: A joint will is one single will that is created by two people, typically spouses (coniugi) or civil partners, outlining their wishes for their combined estate.

Mirror Will: Similar to a joint will, mirror wills are two identical separate wills created by two individuals, often spouses, but each will reflects the individual’s wishes rather than jointly detailing (anziché descrivere congiuntamente) the couple’s estate.

Living Will (or Advance Directive): Unlike traditional wills, a living will specifies an individual’s preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care if they become unable to communicate their wishes.

Conditional Will: This type of will includes specific conditions that must be met for it to be valid. For example, assets may be distributed based on certain events or timelines (tempistiche).

Testamentary Trust Will: Involves setting up trusts within the will to manage assets for beneficiaries, which can be useful for protecting assets or providing for minor children. The will becomes the instrument through which the trust is later born.

Complex Will: For individuals with significant assets or complex family situations, a bespoke (su misura) will drafted (redatto) with legal advice may be necessary to address specific considerations and potential tax implications.

In the UK handwritten wills must be signed and dated by the testator but do not need witnesses (non necessitano di testimoni), however having witnesses can help validate the will’s authenticity and may make the probate process (più o meno il processo di pubblicazione del testamento) easier. Typed wills (dattiloscritti) or printed wills (stampati), on the other hand, must be signed by the testator in the presence of witnesses.

Thank you very much, and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your legal English.

See more about wills in the UK here: “A Guide to Wills and Probate” (. PDF).

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