It is certainly better to have a simple estate plan than to have nothing at all. When you consider that most Americans don’t even have a will telling their heirs what to do with their money, the need for this type of planning becomes clear.
But is it enough? Here are a few questions that can help show the value of going a step further.
What if you want more control over what happens after you’re gone?
A will gives you the ability to say who gets what, but you can’t control how they use it. You could leave an heir $50,000 for college, for instance, and they could buy a sports car. If you want more control, you may want to use a trust to dictate how they can use the money or when they get it.
What if you can’t make your own decisions?
A normal will also can’t help with medical or financial decisions as you age. Sometimes, those who grow older struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and other such issues that make it hard to impossible to make these critical decisions. A power or attorney lets you choose someone you trust to do it for you.
What if you have complex assets that must be divided?
You may also want to go further than a will for complex assets, like a business or real estate assets. As a business owner, do you want to do succession planning? Do you want to sell your real estate and leave money to your heirs, or do you want to leave them the real estate directly?
Consider all of your options carefully to make sure you have the estate right plan for your family. In most cases, a simple will isn’t really enough to meet all your needs.