How to Write an Online Will if You're Single?
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How to Write an Online Will if You're Single?

Why do single people need a Will? How often should I update my Will as a single person? This article discusses the reasons why we believe single people should create a Will, along with tips on how to update your Will!

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It took 34 years to settle the Howard Hughes estate. You might think the main reason for this is that Hughes was extremely wealthy, but that was only part of the story. The biggest reason that the probate process took three decades was that Hughes died without a Will. The fancy words for this is that Hughes “died intestate.” How can a person as rich as Hughes die without a Will? Well, we don’t know exactly what he was thinking about because Hughes was famously reclusive and eccentric. But we do know that Hughes was single, and many people who aren’t in relationships put off making Wills. If you’re in the same boat, it’s important that you reverse course and get a Will.

Why Do You Need a Will as a Single Person?

You might think that you’re too young to have a Will, or that you’re unattached, or don’t have any assets yet; you just don’t need one. But you should consider your overall situation and what would happen if you died unexpectedly. In most states, your assets would go directly to your parents. Oh, did you think your stuff would go to your siblings? This is simply not the case because the laws on dying intestate make your parents your direct heirs. If your parents are separated or divorced, that adds a layer of complication to your asset distribution. 

In Hughes’s case, his parents had been dead for decades, and he had no siblings. That meant that according to state law, his estate would be divided among 11 cousins. Tracking these people down and verifying their parentage took years. And that meant that the Hughes estate went to cousins that Hughes had never even met!

So, if you want to leave your assets to your siblings or friends, you actually need a Will.

Do Single People Without Assets Need a Will?

If you don’t have a positive net worth do you really need a Will? Most people think they are better off waiting until their financial situation improves. But you should err on the side of caution and make a Will. What happens if five years from now, you have a positive net worth, and then you unexpectedly pass away and you still never got around to making that Will? The state would decide what happens to your estate. If you had the foresight to make a Will when you had nothing, you would at least have protected future you from making a big mistake. Although we always advise people to update their Wills whenever they experience a major life event, so many people make a Will and then forget about it. You'd be ahead of the game if you made one as a young single person. 

How to Make an Online Will in Minutes

It makes sense to make a DIY will if you’re single with no children. This lets you avoid high legal fees for what should be a simple matter. Don’t fall for the trap of making a handwritten Will, because these Wills aren’t legal in all 50 states. In states that do recognize a handwritten Will, you must observe strict formalities to make them legal. Why go through all that hassle when you can use FastWill to make an online Will in minutes? 

Here’s how simple it is. First, you need to identify a person you think would be a good Executor. The executor is the person who is responsible for making an inventory of your assets, informing your creditors of your death, and paying your debts. The Executor also has the important role of distributing your assets to the people you name as heirs in your Will. The Executor can be a friend or family member, or anyone you choose. 

The second thing you must do is write out how you want your assets distributed. Do you want your car to go to your brother? Do you want to give your savings to charity? Don’t assume that your Executor will know your wishes if they aren’t written in the Will. Be as specific as possible. 

The third thing you need are witnesses. Your witnesses must be adults who are of sound mind. How many witnesses you need and whether they need to actually watch you sign the document varies from state to state, but FastWill makes it easy to find the requirements for your jurisdiction. You’re probably better off avoiding making your Executor a witness because some states prohibit that, and you don’t want the will to be invalidated. Generally, the witnesses don’t need to know you - they just need to know that you are the person you say you are. You can accomplish this by showing them your personal identification.

Tell Somebody Where the Will is Located!

There has long been speculation that Howard Hughes had an updated Will, but nobody knew where to find it. Lawyers spent years searching his various properties and never found an updated Will. A man claimed that he met Hughes one day and gave him a ride and that he miraculously wound up with a copy of Hughes’ will. This seems like a con, and it was, but it took the courts time to verify that it was a fake will. When athlete Florence Griffith Joyner, better known as FloJo, died unexpectedly, she seemed to have died without a Will. Years after the estate was settled, her family discovered that she had a Will, but it had been lost. By then, it was too late.

The point is that once you’ve written your Will, make some copies and let someone you trust know where to find it. You could also leave your Will in a personal safe, a bank safe deposit box, or in a folder on your computer where someone can find it.

Update Your Will

Once your Will is signed, you can forget about it for a while, but we still believe that you should update the Will when something big happens in your life. What’s a major life event that justifies rewriting your Will?

  • Getting married

  • Having a child

  • Getting a new job

  • Buying a house

  • Moving to a new state or out of the country

  • Coming into an inheritance 

  • Being diagnosed with an illness 

  • Getting divorced

  • Acquiring property like real estate, vehicles, or boats

  • You start a business or have an ownership stake in a business

It’s a good idea to review your Will once a year to make sure it’s still a match for your life. If you make a Will with FastWill, you can easily update your estate plan with no extra red tape. 

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