Writing a will is one of the more effective ways to maintain some control over what happens to your assets after your death. It is also easy to put off. In fact, according to a recent study, 68% of Americans have not yet drafted even a basic will.
If you are ready to tackle your estate plan, you may be able to choose between a simple will and a complex one. Before you make the decision, though, you should understand the differences between the two.
A simple will is an official legal document that designates who receives your assets after you die. As long as your simple will meets some fundamental legal requirements, the state is likely to honor it. Typically, simple wills are appropriate in the following situations:
- You are young
- You have no children from prior marriages
- Your assets have little value
- You do not believe anyone has legal grounds to challenge the validity of your will
A complex will is also a legal document, but it deals with increasingly complicated matters. If you choose to write a complex will, you may also intend to include trusts. Furthermore, you may have complicated ways of dividing your assets. If any of the following applies, a complex will may be appropriate:
- You are over the age of 50
- You own a business
- You have valuable assets
- Your estate is subject to taxes
Because estate planning can be a complicated matter, you may not be able to determine whether you should draft a simple or complex will. Ultimately, you may have to explore the advantages and drawbacks of each type before deciding which is right for you, your family and your estate.