What is a Simple Will?

  • A will is a document that states what you wish to happen to your assets after you die and meets all the legal requirements to be legally enforceable.

  • A simple will is a will that makes gifts in a very straightforward way.

  • It will identify you as the will-maker with no ambiguity.

  • It will name the person/s you want to be your executor, meaning the person who has to identify your assets and liabilities after you have died, and do what the law requires to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. It should also name the person who is to be your executor if your first named executor passes away before you, or can no longer act in that role.

  • It will unambiguously state who is to receive your assets when you die, that is your beneficiaries. It should name substitute beneficiaries meaning those who are to receive your assets if your first named beneficiaries die before you.

  • It may state some conditions that the beneficiaries must meet before they receive their gifts, such as outliving you and reaching the age of 25 years.

  • It may give your executor the power in the right circumstances to advance gifts to beneficiaries even if they haven’t yet reached the specified age. It can also give your executor the power to select assets from your estate to go towards a beneficiary’s share in the estate.

  • It may state what kind of funeral you want.

  • It may state your preference for the people you wish to be the guardians of any children you leave behind that are not 18 years old at the date of your death.

What are the Components of a Simple Will?

  • There is only one component, and that is the will itself. It is just a bit of paper (or perhaps a video or audio file – not recommended!) that you can revoke at any time by destroying it or making a new one. Apart from making the will nothing else needs to be done about it until you die.

 Why Would You Need a Simple Will?

  • You need a will to ensure that when you die your assets go to the people you want to get them, rather than risking that they might end up with people you don’t want to have them.

  • A simple will is suitable for you if your estate is not particularly large and would not justify the costs that will be incurred by your executor or beneficiaries if your will creates complex strategies.

  • A simple will may be suitable if your beneficiaries are at minimal risk of losing what they receive from your will to creditors or in a divorce settlement.

  • A simple will may be suitable if you do not have a blended family.

  • A simple will may be suitable if you have no particular desire for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance in a way that allows them to save tax on the income they earn on it.