Regardless of your age or station in life, it is important that you plan for the eventuality of your death. It isn't something we often talk about, or even want to talk about, but it is something we all must face at some point. Ryan knows the importance of considering this matter and tackling it head on. Ask yourself, "Upon my death, what will happen to my assets? Who will get them? What will it cost to distribute them?" These are questions that should be considered by all of us at some point in our lives. Fortunately, there are answers.
Everyone is familiar with a will. One reason a will is important is that upon your death, if you have assets and you do not have a will, these assets will be distributed by a judge. The judge will normally distribute your assets equally to your heirs in accordance with the statutes of the State of Oklahoma. Perhaps you don't want your assets distributed equally. Maybe you prefer that part of your assets be distributed to a charitable organization or religious institution. If you have any preferences for the distribution of your assets, it is important that you execute a will. Once you have a will, upon your death, a judge will distribute your assets according to the decisions that you have made.
You may also want to consider writing a living, or revocable trust. Ryan has years of experience in the area of estate planning and is a strong proponent of living trusts. A revocable trust allows you to transfer all of your property into the trust during your lifetime. While living, you will act as your own trustee. Basically, during your lifetime all of your property is in a trust, over which you have complete control. Upon your death, or mental incapacity, the successor trustee simply takes over the trust and distributes the assets according to your wishes as spelled out in the trust agreement.
There is never a reason to go to court. A judge never has to get involved. Not only does this make it easier to transfer property out of your name, it avoids the expensive costs of probate. It is also good to know that you can always destroy a trust and remove any property that may be in it at any time. It is important to understand that even if you have a will and you don't have a trust when you die, your estate will have to be probated. The will assists the judge in distributing your assets. It also makes it easier to transfer your property upon your death. For example, the title to your home must be transferred upon your death. Since you can't transfer title after your death, only a judge has the authority to do so, unless you have a trust.
Ryan is also experienced in preparing irrevocable trusts. There are many reasons why an irrevocable trust might be the right option for you. Generally, those who someday might need public assistance will need to have as little property in their name as they can in order to qualify for such aid. Creating an irrevocable trust solves this problem. The issue here, however, is that once you transfer something into an irrevocable trust, you can never retrieve it. Ryan would be happy to discuss with you the pros and the cons of this type of trust, as well as any other estate planning document or tool. If you have been considering drafting an estate plan, come visit Ryan in Moore and have one drawn up today. He also works with families from Norman, OK from his Moore office.
For a good blog on estate planning, see http://blog.nolo.com/estateplanning/
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