The estate planning process does not have to be as complicated as most people make it out to be. In fact, with a simple will, you can accomplish your most basic goals quickly and, as its name implies, with ease.
According to FindLaw, a simple will can do, if not all, at least most of what a more complex document can. For instance, it can help you distribute your property posthumously, appoint a person to execute your estate and identify a guardian for your children. For many people, a simple will is enough to accomplish their estate planning goals and achieve peace of mind. However, is it right for you?
When to use a simple will
A simple will may be right for you if you have a simple estate and fairly uncomplicated goals. For instance, if you are married and younger than 50 years old with children, very little debt and few assets to call your own, you may be able to use a will to ensure that your assets pass on to your spouse if you pass away. You can even use a will to pass equal shares of your property to your children in the unlikely and unfortunate event that you and your spouse pass away at the same time. If your children are minors, you can name a guardian and a person to manage their inheritance on your behalf until they become of age, all in a single document.
When not to use a simple will
Once your wealth grows and your goals become more complicated, you may discover that a simple will is not enough. Though there are dozens of scenarios that may call for a more complex estate planning document, the most common are as follows:
- Your wealth exceeds the state and/or federal state tax exemptions
- You want to manage your money for your minor children, grandchildren or a disabled child after you die
- You have a disabled child and need to ensure he or she enjoys a secure financial future
- You want to avoid probate
Typically, once the above points become concerns, individuals are ready for more complex estate planning tools. However, until you reach that point, you can probably get away with using a simple will. If you need help getting started, consult with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer.