If I’m the sole owner of my property and want my wife to get the property if I die, how do I do that?

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If I’m the sole owner of my property and want my wife to get the property if I die, how do I do that?

Instead of changing the title will setting up a Trust/Will insure that my wife gets the property?

Asked on October 3, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The simplest, easiest, and cheapest way to ensure that your wife inherits your property is to change the deed from your individual name to a tenancy by the entireties, which is a deed that puts the property in your name and your wife's name.  With this deed, she inherits the property if you die, and you inherit the property if she dies.  No estate is needed.  A title agent or paralegal should be able to prepare a deed for you and record it.

A will would also assure that your wife inherited the property, but it would have to be admitted to probate.  That would cost far more than changing the deed, but it would also define who inherited your other property.

A trust could transfer the property to your wife, but you would have to change the deed to place title to the property in the trust.  A trust is a very useful and powerful planning tool if your assets and circumstances make it worthwhile.

If your only significant asset is the property, I would suggest changing the title.  I always recommend people prepare a will - even if it is a simple will.  This can avoid many unforeseen problems.


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