Wills And Trusts, We'll Make Them Foolproof

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  • By: Dan Loeliger, Esq.
  • Published: March 4, 2024
Hand holding a tab labeled 'Estate Plan' - Legal Advantage Group

If there is one certainty in life, it is its inevitable end – but when, where, and how we pass away is not knowledge we are given. What we do have is the power to prepare for that passing. Estate planning empowers us to determine what happens to our assets, property, and legacy when we pass. This article covers the basics of estate planning in Oklahoma, including:

  • What estate planning is and why we need it (it is not just for when we die!).
  • What trusts are, and the essential and versatile role they can play in Oklahoma estate planning.
  • Why the right time to start your estate plan is always now.

What Is Estate Planning, And Why Do We Need It In Oklahoma?

Estate planning empowers you and protects the ones that you love. It is the process of thinking ahead to your death or incapacitation and setting up legal tools and mechanisms to guarantee your wishes will always be respected.

From distributing real and personal property to those you choose, to telling doctors what to do in the event of a terminal illness, estate planning offers you both peace of mind and a chance to craft your own legacy.

Can Estate Planning Benefit Me During My Lifetime?

While estate planning can give you full control over what happens to your property and loved ones after your death, it can also be used to prepare for other eventualities besides death.

For example, when preparing your estate plan with a competent attorney, they will have you decide on trusted individuals to designate in a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney. You will also put together an advanced healthcare directive with instructions for doctors.

All of those documents can help you while you’re still alive. For example, in the event of your incapacitation in a medical emergency, the durable power of attorney might allow your spouse to make financial decisions, while the healthcare directive tells the doctor what your wishes would be and spares your family members from making those decisions.

Each one of those documents fulfilled a specific purpose while you are still living, whereas a will or trust is often only relevant when you pass on.

What Are Trusts?

Among the many estate planning tools a skilled attorney can make available to you, a trust is perhaps the most powerful vehicle for passing on all your assets and property. This is because a trust will allow you to ensure that your estate avoids going through probate after you die.

If you pass on with something titled in your name, such as a car or a house, the only way to get those transferred out of your name is through a court order. This means your family and estate will have to go through a lengthy and occasionally expensive probate process.

On the other hand, if you transfer those assets and properties into a trust while you are still alive, probate is not required. Instead, the trustee you have appointed will simply follow your instructions and distribute that property to your beneficiaries as indicated.

Thus, a well-made trust does everything a will does, except faster, while also sparing your heirs time, expense, and exposure.

How Often Do I Need To Review My Estate Planning Documents In Oklahoma?

It is typically recommended that you review your estate plan at least every five years or whenever there has been some major change in your life or family.

For example, if there has been a birth, a death, a change in assets, a change in net worth or a divorce, you may need to change or adjust your estate plan.

Such updates can be done at any time, and they do not generally require you to make an entirely new trust unless you want to. Such adjustments can be done with simple addendums to your existing trust.

But if you put off these changes and die unexpectedly before you can, you might see your precious assets going to an ex-wife you hate or have relatives you love left out. That is why the best time to do your estate plan is always now.

When Is The Best Time To Set Up Estate Planning Documents?

The only time it is too late to start is after you die. But the best time to start is right now. No one knows what the future has in store for them. But if you have a plan, you keep control over what will happen and how.

Having a complete estate plan means one less source of stress and one step closer to peace of mind, not just for you but also for your loved ones and family.

In nearly 100% of probate cases, things would have been easier for the family if the deceased had created a trust.

Do I Need An Estate Planning Attorney, Or Can I Do Everything Alone Or Online?

The whole purpose of having an Oklahoma estate planning attorney is so you can have a plan that is personalized to your exact needs and wants. Online tools cannot take into account a lot of detail, nor can they adapt to changes in the law.

If you want to make sure that all your documents are current and up to date, reflect current laws and statutes, and are customized to your needs, situation, and wishes, then you definitely need to have an estate planning attorney.

For more information on Estate Planning In Oklahoma, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 449-5777 today.

Attorney Dan Loeliger is an elite attorney based in Edmond, Oklahoma, focusing on personal injury law and estate planning. Believing the law should, first and foremost, serve and help those who need it, attorney Dan Loeliger aims to demystify complex estate planning concepts and personal injury procedures to keep readers like you informed and empowered.

Connect with Legal Advantage Group to gain valuable insights into navigating both personal injury and estate planning law in Oklahoma.

Call For A Free Consultation - (405) 449-5777.

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