If you’ve started to think about making a Will, you may have come across the terms “simple will” and “complex will” in your research. Before you go ahead and start the process, it’s important to know which type of Will applies to your situation and how they differ.

You may be thinking, a Will is just a Will, right? However, every situation is different, and your Will should be uniquely tailored to your individual circumstances so that you can be rest assured that your loved ones are properly provided for after your passing.

So, what is a simple Will?

In a simple Will, your instructions are clear and straightforward as to who gets what and when and it is unlikely to be contested. It may be the case that you have minimal assets, or only a small family, whom you may want to gift everything to.

A simple Will is often used by people who want to give their estate to their spouse and children. With a simple Will, it will be less likely that the estate will be contested, and it is less likely that there will be multiple people with competing interests who may feel they are entitled to a portion of the estate and therefore bring about a family provision claim.

There are a number of things you should consider before you begin the process of making a Will. We have discussed these in details in our article: 5 steps to making an effective Will. In summary, these include:

  • Who you would like to appoint as the executor(s) of your estate, along with who you would like to appoint as a legal guardian to your underage children (if any). We have discussed the role of an executor in our article: 5 things Executors of an estate must do.
  • Make a list of all your assets and liabilities, including assets and liabilities owned jointly with other(s).
  • Decide who will be the beneficiaries of those assets and liabilities.
  • Make your Will and inform your loved ones where you have stored it. It is also important to remember to update your Will if your circumstances change (for example, after a separation).

What makes a Will “complex”?

There are many circumstances in which a Will can become more complex. They can include, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

  • complex financial and family affairs being administered in a manner that benefits beneficiaries upon their passing with the least amount of tax burden, for exampe, capital gains tax;
  • different assets classes, or assets being held in different countries and including under separate wills in those countries;
  • where you intend to obtain more complex assets in the future;
  • complex business or a business that may continue to operate after a persons death;
  • an intention to create a charitable trust;
  • an intention to establish a special disability trust or a testamentary trust for minor children or other vulnerable beneficiaries;
  • a wish to create complex conditional bequests; or
  • a wish to make less traditional choices, such as provision for a former de facto or marital spouse and/or not make provision for close family members, such as current spouse or children or
  • concerns about beneficiaries you would like to leave out of a will.

Need help with your Will?

Everyone’s situation is different and so it is important to know what type of Will you need before proceeding.

For a simple Will, we offer an online service where you can complete your Will in under 30 minutes. Our lawyers will then go over your responses with you before providing a final copy ready for signing and execution. It’s a simple, convenient and straightforward way to make your wishes known. You can get started here.

If your will is more complex, we would recommend getting in touch with one of our Wills & Estate Lawyers on 02 9262 4003 or via an online enquiry for tailored advice to your individual circumstances.

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