Simple and Complex Wills: Which one works for you?

March 23, 2022

It is absolutely essential to take care of estate planning in a timely and efficient manner. We all should have our will prepared at some point in our lives and there are two main types of Wills that can be prepared – Simple and Complex Wills. There are several differences between the two and one may be more suitable to you than the other. Let’s explore the two.

Simple Wills

To put it blatantly, Simple Wills are written simply. They are shorter than Complex Wills and often leave the remainder of a person’s estate to only one or a few people.

It includes the bare minimum needed to set up and split the estate. Some information that could be on a Simple Will includes:

  • The name of the executor;
  • Who you want to leave the estate to, and how much you want to leave to each establishment;
  • Who gets the estate if these beneficiaries can not accept;
  • Charitable donations/gifts from your estate;
  • Who will be the guardian of your minor children if the other parent has also passed; and
  • Who will look after your pet(s) when you pass

Although Simple Wills are not as common as Complex Wills, it might be the one for you if you have a small family and a few assets.

Those that use Simple Wills are often in their first marriage with children, and have a happy marriage. In these situations, the testator normally wants to give their estate exclusively to their spouse and kids. Simple Wills allow testators to do this without much confusion.

Although for those that have a lot of assets and people to award their estate to, a Simple Will will not be sufficient and a Complex Will would be more appropriate in this case.

Complex Wills

As the name suggests, Complex Wills are far more complex than Simple Wills. They provide the testator with greater depth into the ways to distribute their estate.
Complex Wills allow you to set up certain conditions by which the estate is split. You have much more freedom to spread out your estate in certain ways. You can give what you like to whoever you like and do not just need to award lump sums to your family.

These Wills also require more added information and directions, compared to Simple Wills. They have all the information Simple Wills have, but are more detailed.

Some questions you need to ask yourself when preparing a Complex Will, include:

  • Any gifts you may want to award from your estate?
  • How would the Will be split between children from all marriages?
  • Who gets the stocks?
  • How will children with disabilities be cared for?
  • Who gets control of any businesses or corporations?

For individuals with large estates to give away and several people to award the estate to, Complex Wills are the most appropriate form of Wills.

If you’ve had several marriages with multiple kids, or you have a great extended family, you would benefit from a Complex Will. You might also benefit from a Complex Will if you run a large company.

There are three types of Complex Wills:

Testamentary Trust Will

If you don’t want to award your estate to a beneficiary/beneficiaries in a lump sum, you may want to make a Testamentary Will.

This type of Will lets you leave your estate in a Trust which is then given to an appointed beneficiary. The beneficiary will have complete control over it and can use the Trust in any way they want. However, there are often some instructions regarding how it needs to be split.

Disability Trust Will

If the estate, or part of the estate, is going to a disabled person – a disability trust is used. It could contain directions and conditions, just as Testamentary Trust Wills do. This allows the disabled person with a Trust to tap into whenever they need assistance or medical costs.

Mutual Will

Mutual Will is one entered into with your spouse. They are made in case one spouse dies earlier than the other. It ensures that the preferred beneficiaries are awarded the estate of each partner on their passing.

Get the best Estate Planning Services today

Understanding the difference between Simple and Complex Wills is just the beginning. Now that this first step is out of the way, it’s time to get on with estate planning.

If you need a trustworthy estate lawyer, contact Circle Bridge Legal today.

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