When most people talk about a will, they mean a Last Will & Testament. This includes lawyers as well as non-lawyer. It is common enough of a term that if you said simply, “I want to create a will,” most people will know what you mean.

There are a few types of wills. If you want to refer to these other types of wills, such as an ethical will or a living will, you would want to say the full name. Simply saying “will” can lead to confusion. If you go around saying last will and testament, you might just find people asking you to say will instead.

Does it really matter what you call a last will and testament? Can you call it a last will and testament all the time?

You can call a will a last will and testament, but that is longer phrase to say. People tend to want a shortcut, especially when a last will and testament is so widely understood when you say a will. Whether it genuinely matters will depend on your circumstances.

We at Peerless Legal tend to favor the ease of language. If you ask us, we will tell you to call your last will and testament, a will when you are talking to others. However, when you are dealing with any formal documents, you would want to use the full name of last will and testament. The reason is that in formal documents, you want to be as clear as possible.

While most people will understand a will to be refereeing only to the last will and testament, there can be some confusion when you have created various types of documents. Any way you can reduce confusion, you should take that opportunity, especially if the burden of clarity is fairly low. Here, the burden of clarity would be a few more words, which is a pretty low burden.

In any given situation, if you do not understand something, it is a good idea to ask and get clarification. This can be key when you are dealing with multiple wills and the term will can lead to confusion.

Should you create multiple types of wills? That way there really would be no confusion.

Generally, it is a good idea to create the wills that can help fulfill your wishes. That may mean creating only some of the estate planning documents, but if you are going to create an estate plan, you should try and create enough of it to help those you leave behind. Help them not only distribute your property according to your wishes, but also to help them with the passing of your death.

The language should not be so scary. There are only a limited number of types of wills. Learn some of the basics and you can get pretty far. Estate planning documents can help you and those you leave behind.



This blog entry was written by Sanket Mistry.

Sanket Mistry, J.D., M.I.A.      Sanket Mistry is the founder and CEO of Peerless Legal and blogs regularly. He has written numerous books including, "25 Estate Planning Forms," "8 Living Trust Forms," "Simple Will Creator," "Give Through a Will & Living Trust," and "Guidance On Creating Your Own Will & Power of Attorney," and the bestselling books in the Legal Self-Help Guide series, "Will, Trust, & Power of Attorney Creator and Estate Records Organizer" and "Estate Planning in Plain-English." He earned his JD from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University and is a member of the New York State Bar. He has worked, and volunteered, at a number of nonprofits, government agencies, and for-profit corporations. He also holds a BA in philosophy from Emory University and a MIA from Columbia University. He is an avid traveler and tennis player.