Time and time again we get phone calls from people stating they want us to prepare a “simple will” for them. Time and time again my response is that they are likely wrong. The simple truth is that simple wills do very, very little. To be sure, there are few, limited situations where they make sense. They are rare, however. They tend to fall into the situations where the person making the will has no children, or, alternatively, wants to leave her property to someone other than children.
In most cases a simple will says “I leave everything to my spouse, if my spouse survives me, otherwise I leave it to my children equally”. Guess What? In most situations that’s exactly what will happen without a will. You may make probate a little less expensive, and a little smoother, but that’s about all.
You may also designate a guardian for minor children in a will, which is a good thing. However the vast majority of people who have minor children do their kids a disservice relying only on a simple will.
Simple Wills don’t avoid probate. Simple Wills don’t protect assets for children. Simple Wills just don’t do much. Click here if you want more information.
Some lawyers do simple wills for free, or at very low rates. I can’t tell you for certain why, but probably because they know that the simple will will likely lead to much higher fees in the future. I almost refuse to do them at all unless I’m absolutely certain that my client understand what they will and won’t do.
Email us if you have questions on this or any other matter.