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What is a simple will?

Many Americans falsely believe that estate planning is not a concern for them until retirement age. Additionally, some older Americans with fewer assets also believe that estate planning is not for them because they are not incredibly wealthy.

The reality is that estate planning is appropriate for all adult Americans, regardless of proximity to retirement or net worth. According to FindLaw, for many adults a simple will is the perfect way to create an estate plan safeguard against unexpectedly dying.

What is a simple will?

Simple wills are typically best for individuals under the age of 50 who have small estates. The government defines a “small estate” as one that it will not subject to estate taxes should the individual die.

Simple wills can ensure that your chosen executor distributes your assets, however large or small they may be, according to your wishes if you die. Simple wills are especially important for individuals with children. With a simple will, you can name an appropriate guardian should you (and your partner if applicable) die. A simple will still goes through probate, but it will be much easier for your surviving family to manage your death with the guidance a simple will gives.

When should I not use a simple will?

If you want to manage your money after death, a simple will cannot do this. For instance, if you wish to create a trust for your grandchildren, a simple will does not have this capability. Additionally, if the government will subject your estate to taxes upon your death, you cannot use a simple will.

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