Wills, Simple Wills, and Living Wills


A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It's also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will -- also known as dying "intestate" -- can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.

Simple will

A simple Will provides for the outright distribution of assets for an uncomplicated estate. Although, you can write a simple Will yourself, by filling out an easy form that you can buy from a stationery store, find in a book about Will preparation, or find on-line from a reputable legal document website. Although these forms are widely available and easy to use, doing a Will without the guidance of an attorney can be risky. You need to be aware of state laws which may affect the distribution of your assets, even if you do not have a complex estate. Only an attorney well versed in estate law can advise you on the best type of Will to use, and what to include.

Living Wills

A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It can also be referred to as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician's directive. A living will should not be confused with a living trust, which is a mechanism for holding and distributing a person's assets to avoid probate. It is important to have a living will as it informs your health care providers and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event you are not able to speak for yourself.