Estate Planning

Regardless of your age, you must 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. I know 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.

Wills

Almost everyone is familiar with the concept of a will, but not everyone understands their purpose. Having a will is important to protect your assets and outline your wishes for how they should be managed after your passing. If you do not have a will in place, your assets will be distributed at the discretion of a judge. A judge will normally distribute your assets equally amongst your heirs by following the statutes of Oklahoma law.

Perhaps you don't want your assets distributed equally. Maybe you prefer that some of your assets are distributed to a charitable organization or religious institution. If you have any preferences at all for the distribution of your assets, you should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a will. When you have a will, upon your death, a judge will distribute your assets according to the decisions that you have made.

Revocable Trusts

You may also want to consider writing a living, or revocable trust. I have many years of experience in the area of estate planning and am 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 trustee, and all of your property is allocated to a trust which you have complete control over. Upon your death or mental incapacitation, the successor trustee (which you designate) takes over the trust and distributes the assets according to your wishes as spelled out in the trust agreement.

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There is never a reason to go to court. A judge never has to get involved. Estate planning not only makes it easier to transfer property out of your name, but it can also help your family avoid the time and costs of probate. It is also good to know that you can always destroy the trust and remove property that may be in it at any time you want. 

It is important to understand that even if you have a will, but you don't have a trust in place when you die, your estate will have to go through the probate process. This is the court-ordered way the judge manages the distribution of your assets. Having a trust can also make it easier to transfer your property upon your death. For example, the title to your home is an asset that 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.

Irrevocable Trust

I also have experience in preparing irrevocable trusts. There are many reasons why an irrevocable trust might be the right option for you. Generally, those who might someday need public assistance will need to have as little property in their names as possible to qualify for such aid. Creating an irrevocable trust solves this problem. However, the issue here is that once you transfer something into an irrevocable trust, you can never retrieve it. 

I would be more than happy to discuss the pros and the cons of this type of trust with you, as well as any other estate planning document or tool. If you have been considering drafting an estate plan, come visit me in Moore and have one drawn up today. I also work with families from Norman, OK from my Moore-based office.

Estate Planning Attorney Serving Moore, Oklahoma

If you are ready to start planning for the future, you should consult an estate planning attorney to help you make arrangements for your assets. An estate plan can help you protect your assets, provide for your family, and ensure your wishes are honored after you have passed. Everyone should have a plan. Reach out today for a consultation.