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The difference between a simple and complex will

Most people view the estate planning process as extremely complicated. Between trusts, wills and health proxies, it seems like developing a plan may never end. However, crafting a will doesn’t always have to be complicated.

There are many situations when a person only needs a “simple will” to cover their estate after they pass away. But when do you use a simple will over a traditional will?

When to go the simple route

Simple wills are exactly what you would expect; they take a traditional plan and bring it to its most simplified form. The bare minimum of a simple will states who will receive which of your properties after death.

You can include other details such as guardianship of your children, executor of your estate and the heirs to any of your assets. You may find a will works for your plans if:

  • You do not have a large estate
  • Your asset distribution is straightforward
  • You do not have children from other marriages
  • Any beneficiaries do not contest the will

However, a simple will always go through the probate court process. If you want to avoid probate court, you should consider a complex will instead.

When to use a complicated will

There are many reasons why some adults find complex wills better suit their needs, including avoiding probate court. Some ideas include:

  • Joint wills with a partner or spouse
  • To minimize the impacts of estate taxes
  • To provide support for a child who is disabled
  • To include children from a previous relationship
  • To support a family-owned business

A more complicated plan allows estate holders to customize their will to include as many as their wishes as possible. You can create trusts, inheritances, asset protection and more through a complex will, and it is done while lowering tax liabilities and creditors.

It does not matter what route you decide to take, as long as you create an effective plan for your situation. Instead of treating estate planning like a complicated chore, view it as taking control of your assets for your family and friends.

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Axelrod & Associates, P.A.
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