In a previous post, we discussed how estate planning is not a priority for many people and that perhaps more than an underlying fear of death or simple procrastination, this mindset can be traced to the mistaken belief that it’s a complex process that they don’t need and/or don’t understand.
We also discussed how those with this perfectly understandable mindset must consider the possibilities offered by a simple will, an estate planning instrument that provides immeasurable benefits to people from all walks of life.
In today’s post, we’ll continue our ongoing discussion of simple wills in an attempt to help people better understand just how valuable they can be, and what exactly they permit you to do — and not to do.
Setting conditions on property
Someone leaving property to another person via a simple will may wonder if they are able to set certain conditions on the property, such as limiting how long an heir can enjoy the use of it.
The answer to this is that it depends on what exactly you are trying to achieve. For example, if you only want the person to have the property in question for the duration of their lifetime, you can create something called a life estate. This essentially dictates that the property will pass to another person upon the demise of this first person.
It’s possible that other conditions can be set up regarding property, but the more complex the desire, the greater the need to speak to an experienced legal professional.
Most people think that a simple will is the document in which the language outlining instructions for your burial should be memorialized. Experts indicate, however, that this isn’t the most ideal location for this information given that wills are typically read/reviewed after the burial, ceremony, etc. Consequently, your wishes for your service could go unfulfilled.
As for where these instructions should be listed, experts indicate that a legal professional can point a person to the proper documents, which are typically drafted solely for this purpose.
We’ll continue this discussion in future posts, examining everything from whether state law permits you to leave a spouse out of your will and the validity of a simple will executed in another state.
If you would like to learn more about will execution, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.