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What is the difference between a simple and complex will?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When you create a will, there are several elements that must be included. Also, depending on your assets you may decide to have a simple will, or a complex will.

Elements of a will

The person who is creating the will is called the testator. This person must be at least 18 years old and be mentally competent. They must understand that they are making a will, meaning that they know that their property will be distributed to the people named in the will upon their death.

The will should be in writing, signed by the testator and witnessed by two people. The testator can revoke or change the will later if they choose to, but any changes must also follow the necessary legal formalities.

Simple and complex wills

A simple will is usually appropriate for people with smaller estates with fewer assets that will be distributed to named beneficiaries, such as family members or friends, without restrictions or complex requirements.

Also, a simple will usually does not involve complicated tax issues, significant money management, or ongoing family needs.

By comparison, a complex will may provide for distribution of assets over time, or include specific provisions for needs like education, for example. It may also include instructions for charitable giving.

A complex will may seek to minimize tax impact, protect assets from creditors, or address how a business will be operated after the testator passes away. It may also have other special provisions, like how investments should be managed.

Both types of wills are effective estate planning tools.