Oklahoma Estate Planning Process: Understanding the Basics
Oklahoma estate planning is an often ignored (yet important) component in protecting your assets and your loved ones, especially in the future during the probate process. One of the main reasons why people do not engage in the estate planning process is that they do not understand the basics related to it.
This lack of knowledge may also result in complete misinformation that also causes fear and avoidance of creating the appropriate estate planning documents. Without the proper estate planning documents in place, your estate could not avoid probate if something happened to you. The court system would also make decisions related to your minor children.
At Ball Morse Lowe, estate planning is one of the practice areas that we focus on. In addition to creating personalized estate planning documents for our clients, we also want to educate our readers as well as our clients on the Oklahoma estate planning process. In this post, you'll learn more about the estate planning process, the common estate planning process, whether estate planning can help you avoid probate, and how estate planning can help you if you're the parent of minor children.
If you have questions about estate planning or if you're ready to start the process, schedule your free consultation with Ball Morse Lowe now.
The Estate Planning Process Is Personalized
The most crucial point to keep in mind about the estate planning process is that it is personalized. While many estate planning documents may be used by everyone that goes through the process, such as a Last Will and Testament, others may not be right for everyone.
The estate planning process is based on the objectives of each person going through the process. Over time, those goals may change. The estate planning documents initially created should be reviewed when major life events occur to ensure that they still meet your needs or goals. Additionally, your desires may change over time. This may mean that you want to explore how other estate planning documents work and whether they may be a better fit for you.
Common Estate Planning Documents
There are some common estate planning documents used in the state planning process. They include:
- Last Will and Testament. This is the most well-known estate planning document. It allows you to name individuals, nonprofits, or even create trusts for your pets to receive your assets.
- Powers of attorney. There are various types of powers of attorney that accomplish different goals. A durable power of attorney continues to remain in effect if you are declared incapacitated by a doctor. The most commonly used power of attorney is a durable healthcare power of attorney. It is used to give someone the ability to ensure you get the medical treatment you want and need if you are unable to make those decisions on your behalf.
- Revocable living trust. A revocable living trust is the most common type of trust established during the estate planning process. The document itself outlines who will act as the trustee and the beneficiaries as the trust. Revocable living trusts are popular because those who use them can make changes to the trust and even revoke the trust during their lifetime. They can also be the beneficiary of the trust and act as the trustee during their life.
- Asset inventory. The purpose of an asset inventory is to document all of your assets. This includes everything from bank accounts to jewelry to gun collections to land to real estate. Essentially, it is anything you own that has financial value. An asset inventory is helpful because it assists in the estate planning process. It will be done again during the probate process. During that time, an asset inventory is beneficial in the event a determination of heirship matter is opened. This happens if an heir believes that an asset of the estate was not distributed by the personal representative. Probate litigation of this nature can be difficult to handle on your own. Ball Morse Lowe provides legal assistance handling such matters.
Can You Avoid the Probate Process with Oklahoma Estate Planning?
Certain estate planning documents can help some of your assets avoid the probate process. A revocable living trust is a common estate planning document used to help protect assets from probate. Assets in these trusts do not go through the probate process. This is not the only estate planning document that may be able to help you avoid probate.
Additionally, life insurance proceeds also avoid the probate process since they are paid out directly to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries of the policy. You can also use payable-on-death and transfer-on-death beneficiaries on accounts and certain assets. Where these are available, you will be able to avoid probate.
What about Minor Children?
Minor children can also be cared for with Oklahoma estate planning. In addition to setting up trusts or using other estate planning documents that can be used to provide for your minor children, considering their guardianship is also a key concern in the process. Your Oklahoma estate plan can be used to express your wishes related to the guardianship of your minor children if you die. Without addressing guardianship, it would become a matter of the court's decision to determine who would care for your children.
Schedule Your Free Oklahoma Estate Planning Consultation Now
Oklahoma estate planning helps you take control of your future while also caring for the future of your family. To learn more about estate planning documents and how they can meet your needs, schedule your free consultation with Ball Morse Lowe now 405.701.5355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.