We offer a free fifteen minute telephone consultation, so that we can help you to decide what you need to do and how best to plan for your Estate.
What is an Estate Plan?
At its most basic, an estate plan is your plan for what happens to your property and money in the future. You can make an estate plan that includes what happens now, while you’re still alive, or you can make an estate plan that strictly deals with who gets your property once you have passed away.
Having an attorney draft your estate plan will ensure that your property is taken care of in the way you desire, both while you are alive and after you are gone, and also gives you the opportunity to sit down with someone who understands the different possibilities and can explain them to you. We know there are lots of forms out there online that you can just ‘fill out’ and hope for the best, but we want to be sure that you know and understand the documents, and that every bit of your property is accounted for and taken care of.
There are two main components to an estate plan: your living plan and your testamentary plan. Your living plan might include trust documents establishing what should happen to your money should something happen to make you unable to handle your own affairs—like an accident or illness — or might just set up trusts that you put money into now for someone else to have it in the future. Your testamentary plan includes your will, but might also include things like Advance Directives for medical care and Do Not Resuscitate orders. Your testamentary plan might also include instructions for what is to be done with your body after you pass away, and what kind of funeral you want.
Why is an Estate Plan Important?
You never know when something might happen to you. People get sick or get injured in accidents every day, and when they do, their families are thrown into chaos. Having an estate plan saves you and your family from having to decide what to do in case you are injured or become sick.
Having a trust in place ensures that you will be taken care of, and that someone you already know and trust will be managing your property and accounts if you become unable to do so. Without a trust in place, your accounts and property are open to being taken advantage of by relatives or others, and there is no guarantee that any of those people are going to take care of you. Planning in advance protects you, and also protects your family. It saves your loved ones the heartache of having to figure out what to do, or having to go to Court and have someone appointed as your guardian.
Having a will in place makes sure that your home, bank accounts, jewelry, heirlooms, and other property go to exactly who you want to have them. In Oklahoma, if you die without a will, then your estate is simply split up between your spouse and your children. Without a will, the Court will simply order all of your things to be appraised, and will probably have most of it sold, and then give a share to each of your children and a share to your spouse. Most of us have someone in mind that we’d like to give certain property to, whether that property is our house or the antique brooch we got from our great-aunt. Having a valid will is the only way to make sure that this happens.
A living will—advance directives for medical treatment, do not resuscitate orders and the like—helps your family and your doctors know what to do in case you become sick or are injured. It gives you the peace of knowing that you will be taken care of in exactly the way you want, and gives your family the peace of not having to guess during a time when everyone is worried about you and trying to decide what’s best.
Why Should I Hire Your Firm?
We are very experienced in estate planning. Not only that, but we have decades of experience in contesting wills and trusts, and we know how to avoid the kinds of problems that can arise in Court after you pass away or after your trust goes into effect. We can make sure that your property, money, and other assets are protected and are disposed of in the way that you choose.