Creating a will is a simple way to lay out the way in which you want your assets to be distributed among your beneficiaries after your death. This can be a good starting point for creating a comprehensive estate plan because you may need more than just a basic will.
KAKE’s recent article entitled “What Is a Simple Will and How Do You Make One?” explains that a last will and testament is a legal document that states what you want to happen to your property and “worldly goods” when you die. A simple will can be used to designate an executor for the will and a legal guardian for minor children and specify who (or which organizations) should inherit your assets when you die.
A will must be approved in the probate process when you pass away. After the probate court reviews the will to make sure it’s valid, your executor will take care of the collection and distribution of assets listed in the will. Your executor would also be responsible for paying any debts owed by your estate.
Creating a will can be a good starting point for estate planning. However, deciding if it should be simple or complex can depend on a number of factors, such as:
- The size of your estate
- The amount of estate tax you expect to owe
- The type of assets and property you own
- Whether you own a business
- The number of beneficiaries you want to name
- Whether the beneficiaries are individuals or organizations (like charities)
- Any significant life changes you anticipate, like marriages, divorces, or having more children; and
- Whether any of your children or beneficiaries have special needs.
With these situations, you may need a more detailed will to plan how you want your assets to be distributed. In any event, work with an experienced estate planning attorney. With life or financial changes, you may need to create a more complex will or consider a trust. It is smart to speak with an estate planning attorney, who can help you determine which components to include in your plan and help you keep it updated.
Reference: KAKE (Nov. 23, 2020) “What Is a Simple Will and How Do You Make One?”