You Probably Need More Than “Just A Simple Will”
Many clients come to our office and proclaim they need “just a simple will.” Perhaps their estates aren’t all that complicated and they simply want to make provisions to leave their assets to a spouse or children.
If all a client wants or can afford is a simple will, I’m happy to help. However, I believe that a comprehensive estate plan is not just about planning for the disposition of property upon death. Perhaps more important is making sure the client and their loved ones are covered during life.
While wills are very important tools in the estate planning process “just a simple will” doesn’t take into consideration many important issues such as:
- Planning for incapacity
- Dealing with healthcare end of life decisions
- Minimizing or avoiding the probate process
Planning for Incapacity
Most of us will suffer some kind of incapacity during our lifetime. Perhaps it is a short-term hospitalization due to an accident or illness or a longer term incapacity due to aging or dementia. A will has no effect until death and if proper planning is not put in place there may be no one to assist with handling personal or financial affairs. Planning with a document such as a Durable Power of Attorney grants legal authority to an agent to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf and can avoid the need for expensive guardianship proceedings.
Healthcare and End of Life Decisions
If you were unable to make your own medical decisions, who would you want to speak for you? What if there is a disagreement between family as to your care? If you have not planned accordingly there may be no one in a legal position to advocate for you.
Minimizing or Avoiding Probate
is the court-supervised process where the assets are gathered, debts are assessed, and ultimately legal title of the assets of an estate pass to the proper parties. Probate can be an expensive and time-consuming process and assets may not be available during probate. With a simple will, probate may be unavoidable but perhaps can be minimized with careful planning and consideration.
If you have “just a simple will” or worse yet, no documents at all, we can help you put together a more comprehensive plan to cover you and your family. No matter what your means or background, we can help. Learn more about the estate planning process. and contact our office to get started.