So you say all you need is a simple Will. Are you really sure about that? If your goal is simply to pass on your assets to your heirs, you might be right.
On the other hand, if you wish to provide your loved ones with asset protection, tax protection, divorce protection or other benefits, that simple Will just won’t do the trick. For instance, if you have a child with special needs, a Will might be the worst thing you could do for that child. Simply by passing on your assets, you may disqualify the child from receiving much needed government financial support and services.
In another instance, what happens if you become incapacitated due to accident or illness. Do your loved ones know your wishes with regard to healthcare decisions or more important life sustaining measure? Do they know how the medical bills can be paid? A Will won’t provide for you, your care or help your loved ones through a trying time.
The issue should not be whether you want a simple document, it should be what are your concerns and how will you address them. The documents you need will follow from that, not the other way around.
Estate planning is the process of reviewing not only your property and deciding what to do with it when you die — it also takes into account your needs as well as the needs of your loved ones.
Depending on your circumstances and goals, you may need any or all of the following:
• Ethical Will
• Healthcare Directives
• Powers of Attorney
• Living Will
• Guardianship for Children
• Special Needs Trusts and Planning
If you have extensive assets, you may need to go beyond traditional estate planning and look at these options:
• Gifting strategies
• Second-Generation planning
• Charitable planning
• Closely-held businesses
• Estate freezing techniques
• Dynasty Trusts
• Revocable Trusts
• Irrevocable Trusts
• Wealth replacement and asset protection