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Simple Wills 101

Simple Wills 101

It is a common saying in estate planning that even if you do absolutely nothing else, you should take the time to draft a simple will. While not appropriate for everyone, for some of our clients a simple will is an easy, quick way to sufficiently address estate planning needs.

What is a simple will?

A simple will is a legal document that addresses two major points: what will be done with your assets after you are gone and the person who will be in charge of settling your estate. That person is referred to as the executor of your estate and can be anyone you choose.

No matter who you designate as executor, it is a good idea to let that person know about your choice so that they are not surprised when they find out.

Is a simple will the right choice?

For individuals or couples who do not have children under the age of 18 or, have an uncomplicated estate and do not believe that their heirs will owe estate taxes, a simple will can be a good solution. In this situation, a simple will addresses the important issues and should suffice to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled.

When a simple will is not enough

However, there are many cases when a simple will is not sufficient to address the needs of your estate. The most obvious case when a simple will may not be sufficient is that of a family that includes children under the age of 18.

Some other examples of situations in which you may want to consider more complex estate planning include:

  • If you believe that someone may contest the will. When you believe that someone may choose to challenge your will, it may be a good idea to create a more secure document and estate plan to avoid delays and complications when it is time to execute your wishes.
  • If your estate is significant enough that it may require estate taxes. In this case, you may want to plan for how these costs can be minimized and address other issues that can arise.
  • If you have children with disabilities or from a previous marriage.  In these situations, contentions are more likely to arise, and it may be necessary to draft documents to ensure that these children are also taken care of when the time comes.

If you are looking for help with a simple will in Northern Virginia, contact Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates for all of your estate planning needs.