Choosing a Basic or Customized Will

A basic will is typically sufficient for an individual with a fairly straightforward estate. Customized wills are required for more complicated estate dissemination.The challenge is determining whether your estate is straightforward or complicated. Ask yourself these questions when choosing between a basic or customized will:

  • If I passed today, would I have a large amount of outstanding debts? If so, you may require a customized plan to instruct your executor or beneficiary on the method for repayment.
  • Do I wish to disinherit any individual from my will? If there are individuals, such as adult children or an ex-spouse, you would like to disinherit, a custom will may be required.
  • Is my estate value in excess of $1 million? The larger your estate, the more tax planning will be required. Tax experts will likely require a custom will in order to best preserve your wealth in the future.
  • Did I list beneficiaries on my retirement plans, social security plan and life settlements? If so, and if these represent the majority of the estate remaining upon your death, a basic will may provide you with all you need. Listing beneficiaries on these accounts does not require a will.
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