Estate planning doesn’t have to be a scary process. We are dedicated to empowering our clients to make the most informed decisions about estate distribution and to working with them to craft the best estate plan for their particular needs. We know that each client’s assets, relationships, and wishes for distribution are unique, and we are committed to getting to know you, your individual needs, and your specific wishes in order to create a customized estate plan that works best for you and your family.
You deserve the peace-of-mind that a quality, comprehensive estate plan offers you and your loved ones, and we are ready to help you select and implement the best estate plan for you.
OUR CAPABILITIES INCLUDE
A legally binding document that, among other things, provides for how your property will be distributed at your death, names a personal representative (sometimes referred to an executor) to manage and distribute your estate, can direct how debts, taxes, probate fees, and other costs are to be paid out of your estate, provide for living expenses for your family or other named beneficiary during the probate process, and, if necessary, appoint a guardian for your minor children. This document is the cornerstone of an estate plan.
The purpose of this document is to designate someone who is legally recognized to manage your property, either in order to assist you currently or in the event you become unable to do so on your own. Having a power of attorney in place prior to your incapacity enables you to avoid the expensive, lengthy, and difficult process of a guardianship proceeding, whereby the court is required to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs.
Your estate plan may also include a trust. There are many different types of trusts, and different uses for them. However, for estate planning purposes, there are basically two types of trusts - irrevocable and revocable. An irrevocable trust is one that cannot be revoked or changed once it is created. A revocable trust, on the other hand, is one that can be amended or revoked at anytime. Irrevocable and revocable trusts are created for very different purposes. If a trust is an appropriate estate planning vehicle for you, we will work with you to determine which type of trust will best meet your needs.
This document appoints someone who is legally recognized to make health care decisions for you, which also can be made immediately effective or may become effective in the event you are unable to do so. Having a power of attorney in place prior to your incapacity enables you to avoid the expensive, lengthy, and difficult process of a guardianship proceeding, whereby the court is required to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs. However, pursuant to Oklahoma law, the health care powers listed in a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care do not include lifesustaining treatment decisions; those decisions must be addressed in the Advance Directive for Health Care.
Often referred to as a “Living Will”, this document allows you to direct that extraordinary lifesustaining measures be withheld in the event you are incapacitated and (i) have a terminal condition, or (ii) are in a persistently unconscious state. The Advance Directive also allows you to designate a health care proxy to make life sustaining treatment decisions for you if you are unable to do so. In addition, this document provides an opportunity to donate your body or specific organs upon your death for purposes of transplantation, therapy, or medical/dental research. This document can be tailored to meet your specific needs and wishes.
BENEFITS OF USING A REVOCABLE TRUST FOR ESTATE PLANNING PURPOSES
Probate Avoidance – by placing your property into a revocable trust, you can partially or fully avoid the probate process. Since the trust already owns the property, rather than it being owned by the individual at his/her death, it never becomes a part of the estate, and a probate is never required in order to distribute the property. A revocable trust is the only device that can be used with almost all types of property. This is particularly beneficial to an individual who owns real estate or mineral interests in different states, since, otherwise, separate probate would be required in each state where a property may be located in order to distribute out of the individual’s estate to the proper beneficiary
Privacy – a revocable trust is a more private vehicle than a Will for disposing of assets since a revocable trust is usually not recorded and is not subject to public inspection. Your Will, on the other hand, will become a public document once probated.
Disability Planning – should you become unable to manage your affairs, your Co-Trustee or Successor Trustee would have the authority to manage the Trust assets during your lifetime and conserve your assets without the necessity of court approval or the appointment of a guardian or conservator.
Continuity – revocable trusts serve as an ongoing mechanism after death to receive income, pay bills, pay taxes, and manage assets without delay or the court approval necessitated by probate proceedings. This ensures that a person’s intended beneficiaries have seamless and immediate access to property and assets without the added time, cost, and stress of court intervention.