“Do I need a will if I am single?” The lawyer answer is: that depends.
Previously we discussed whether someone “needs” a will. The same analysis applies to a *single* person.
What do you own? How is it titled?
Do you mind state law determining who ends up with your money and property?
Some accounts, like a 401k or an IRA, are structured so that if a beneficiary is designated correctly, the property passes outside a will. If your only assets are investment accounts, you might not need a will.
If you own real property, you typically do need a will, but you have a few additional options. Oklahoma statute allows real property owners to transfer ownership of real property at death by using a “Transfer on Death” deed. Also, real property can be owned by two people and titled in a way to allow a transfer of the ownership to the surviving owner without a will. These options may require an attorney’s assistance and there are additional considerations, such as tax and creditor issues, to be evaluated before re-titling any property.
It sounds complicated but there's a simple approach:
1. Think about your property and the things you own,
2. Decide what you want to happen to those things if you die, and
3. Meet with an estate planning attorney to review your plan.
I would be happy to help you plan for your future. Call me to get started!
*Everyone can die without a will unless you want your property to go somewhere specific when you die. Most estate problems can be resolved later but it usually requires hiring a lawyer – and it might not resolve how you would have wanted!