Estate planning can be a daunting exercise for some people in Florida. However, starting out with a good understanding of what options are available and how they differ can go a long way toward simplifying the process. When the choice to create a will versus a trust is made, the next step is to learn about the different types of wills available.

According to the Florida Bar, a will is defined as a directive that outlines in writing explicit details surrounding a person’s post-death wishes. These wishes generally pertain to how and to whom assets will be distributed but can also include other orders. For example, the guardianship of minor children can be outlined in a will. In order to be deemed valid, a will must be created by a person who is mentally competent at the time to do so.

Investopedia explains that certain types of wills are usable by individuals only while others can be jointly created. For example, a simple will can be set up by one person alone. As its name implies, it is a relatively basic form of a will and is best used by someone without an extensive estate or large assets. A reciprocal will can be developed when spouses create their own individual simple wills naming each other as the beneficiaries.

A joint is another option to the reciprocal will for married couples. In this document, provisions are outlined for the death of one spouse at a time or both spouses together. Assets can be left to the surviving spouse or to other parties. A mutual will can be created by more than two people. It is similar to a joint will except in the number of parties involved and in the fact that it is not able to be changed.

Luis E. Barreto