Estate planning attorneys are used to clients saying they just need to get a simple will. Many people are told by others, long before they visit an estate planning attorney, that a simple will is what they need to get. However, what a client might mean by a simple will is not necessarily what the attorney thinks it is.
Estate planning attorneys use the term to normally mean a particular type of will that has standard features.
Recently, the Courier Journal explained what those features are in "Thank You and Simple Wills."
A simple will normally refers to a relatively short document the primary feature of which is directing that all of the testator’s assets should go to a spouse. In the event the spouse has predeceased, then a simple will almost always directs that all assets be shared between the testator's children in equal shares. A simple will might also include basic information about who should be the guardian of any minor children the testator has.
That is normally all that a simple will contains, but there might be a few more basic provisions in some circumstances.
It should be obvious that a simple will is not the appropriate estate planning document for everyone.
So, before telling an estate planning attorney you need a simple will, tell the attorney what you hope to accomplish with your estate plan. The attorney can then help direct you to the proper legal instrument for your needs.
Reference: Courier Journal (Sept. 13, 2016) "Thank You and Simple Wills."