Estate Law

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What is a Simple Will?

This is a legal document stating what a person wants done with their estate upon their death. This can also state who is to care for the children and their financial affairs. Without a will, the state will determine what happens to a person’s estate and children regardless of his/her wishes. No lawyer is needed to make this type of will and it is fairly cheap.

When to Use a Simple Will

If you are under 50-years-old, in good health and have little to no assets, this type of will is sufficient. It will state who gets your small estate and, if applicable, who the guardian of your children will be. However, if your estate is more than a certain value, determined by your state, then it is subject to estate taxes and will go to probate after your death. The Federal estate tax limit is $5.1 million. To prevent this a more complex will is necessary.

How to Write a Simple Will

A simple will is not complicated; however, to be sure you have all your interests at hand it is best to consult an attorney. This type of will is basically a ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ form. You can download a form off a reliable website or get one from your local attorney. It should never be a hand-written or vocal will as these are more likely to be contested in court.

What to Include in a Simple Will

A simple will is only for one person. The following details should be included in your will:

  • Your full name with as much information as possible.
  • Names of all beneficiaries; this includes people and charities or businesses.
  • The executor and backup executor; having a backup is necessary in case of death or incapable of performing the required tasks.
  • The name of your child’s guardian and who should care for them in case that guardian is unavailable.
  • Instructions will detail how your assets are distributed and who gets the financial gain from it.

Simple Will vs Complex Will

A complex will is just that. It goes into detail what is to be done with your estate, who will care for the financial aspect and who is in charge of the trust, if there is one. If you feel your will is going to be contested, then a complex will is required. Contacting an estate lawyer will help you determine which one is best for your situation.

Can a Simple Will be changed to a Complex Will?

As life changes it is important to keep your will updated. It is simple, but could be more costly than a simple will. The following are some examples that would require a change.

  • marriage
  • divorce
  • new baby
  • step-children
  • acquire or bought more property
  • common law marriage, where recognized
  • changing beneficiaries or executor

It is important to have an updated will at all times. While you are young and healthy, one may not think of the importance of a will; however, without one the state will determine everything. This could leave your loved ones with little to nothing. 

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