Lidia Law Firm, P.C.
Estate Planning & Business Law

Edmond Oklahoma Estate Planning Blog

The importance of estate planning for parents

If you are a new or expectant parent in Oklahoma, you may understandably be very focused on providing for your new baby. This can be a thrilling and enriching experience albeit a bit tiring at times. However, it is all too easy for new parents to get overly focused on the immediate needs of an infant and forget about the long term. While in most cases you will get to see your child grow up, you should have a plan in place just in case that does not happen.

For the sake of your child and anyone else who may help raise your child if you were to die or become disabled prematurely, NerdWallet recommends a thorough estate plan. This may include multiple documents one of which is a durable power of attorney. Another thing to consider is to establish a trust in which you can place your assets. Naming a trustee who you know to be financially responsible will be important as well.

How does a living will differ from a last will?

As a resident of Oklahoma currently looking into writing a will, you are going to quickly discover that the process may not be as straight-forward as you think. Not only are there different types of wills, but they each serve a unique purpose and can even be used at many points in your life.

A living will, for example, is different from a last will. FindLaw defines a living will as a type of estate plan meant to address the end-of-life and medical treatment options of the will's author. Essentially, it's meant to speak for you if you get into a situation where you aren't in the right mind to make decisions for yourself. As an example, if you get into a car accident and are in a coma, your living will can dictate how long you wish to be kept on life support.

Understanding probate

When someone dies in Oklahoma, many people may think they can simply take the belongings of the deceased. However, most of the time, a person's estate needs to go through probate. 

The Motley Fool says that probate determines whether a will is valid. The executor of the estate typically needs to make a list of the assets and debts the deceased has and take these to court with the will. The court usually considers the will's validity and tells the executor how to manage the assets before they are distributed to the beneficiaries. While some people might think it will not take long to show that the will is valid, probate can be a long process. Sometimes it may take several months for a court to rule that the assets can be handed out to family members.

Asset planning for remarriages

Oklahoma residents who are planning to get married for the second or subsequent time can benefit from stopping to consider their unique estate planning needs and situations. In many remarriages, each partner brings their own biological children and even grandchildren into the family. Even if everyone gets along well, issues may arise when one of the spouses dies. Fidelity Investments recommends that couples have frank conversations with each other and even with their adult children about their future plans for their estates.

In most situations, when a married person dies it is the spouse who is set to inherit any assets if there is no other formal documentation in place. If this happens in a remarriage, the adult children of the deceased spouse may feel neglected and might even pursue action to get what they believe is their family inheritance. A good estate plan may help to avoid these conflicts by spelling out what assets go to different parties.

Can you write business inheritance into wills?

As a business owner in Oklahoma, you've put monumentous effort into growing your company from the ground up. Naturally, you want your business to continue flourishing even after you pass. Lidia Law Firm is here to help ensure that your business is passed on according to your wishes.

Business and estate law do tend to intersect when it comes to family or self-owned businesses that you wish to pass down to someone else. In some cases, you might want to leave it to one or multiple members of your family. In other cases, you might prefer leaving your share of the business to a trusted business partner, even if they aren't related. It's up to you to first decide who you want your business assets to go to.

What are the benefits of drafting estate plans?

As a resident of Oklahoma, you have the ability to draft an estate plan in order to help out your loved ones in the event of your passing.  Lidia Law Firm is here to help you get the complex paperwork and other legalities out of the way so that you can focus on what's important.

Estate plans are of vital importance. They determine how matters, especially of the financial variety, will be handled after your passing. A few of the most commonly quoted benefits include:

  • Peace of mind
  • Asset protection
  • Financial provision
  • Tax minimization
  • Creation of Trusts

The advantage of Trusts, explained

Many Oklahoma residents feel apprehensive about setting up a Trust; others feel that it simply is not worth the time. Wherever families may lie on this spectrum of opinion, many are confused about the meanings of a will or Trust altogether. Below are some accessible facts about a Trust specifically, and how having one may prove advantageous.

First, an article in Forbes explains that, as a whole, a Trust is a group of assets prepared for beneficiaries. Overseen by an appointed Trustee, the management of a Trust involves directions on how assets are to be distributed -- these can include cash, property and other important belongings. A will and a Trust each have a number of benefits, but Forbes points out that Trusts can help one avoid probate, and can even prove more flexible than a will. Although potentially more costly, some families may benefit from Trusts more than others. For instance, those with minor children might want to consider Trusts, since a Trust could allow more control over when, exactly, a child receives money. In addition, Trusts can allow parents to categorize where money will go, such as education or other major life expenses. 

What should you know about probate administration?

To Oklahoma residents like you, probate administration is likely a complex mess of legal terms and laws that you don't necessarily know. Lidia Law Firm is here to guide you through what can be an incredibly confusing and tricky legal area to navigate.

Probate administration involves essentially tying up the financial loose ends that are left over after the passing of a loved one. This includes redistributing assets to those who are legally owed them. Once all debts and assets have been identified and organized, you can then move on to ensuring you know all heirs, beneficiaries and creditors. After that, you can finally begin dividing and distributing the assets.

Factors to consider when appointing an executor

When Oklahoma residents put their estate plan together, it is important for them to think carefully about the person who will serve as their executor. According to FindLaw, the executor is usually in charge of the administrative and legal duties associated with your estate, and it is important to pick someone who can capably fulfill these duties.

When people select an executor, they should typically consider where someone lives. It can sometimes be beneficial to have an executor who lives in the area so he or she can maintain the property and appear in court as necessary. Additionally, it is important to consider family dynamics. If people pick a favorite child as the executor of their estate, their other children may sometimes be more likely to challenge the will or argue about the assets they will inherit. People should also make sure that someone is willing to be the executor.

Understanding different kinds of Trusts

When Oklahoma residents set up their estate plans, they have many options to choose from. One of these options is a Trust. Because there are many kinds of Trusts, it is important for people to understand the differences so they can set up the kind that will be best for them.

The kind of Trust that most people may be familiar with is an irrevocable Trust. FindLaw says that this type usually cannot be changed once someone has set it up. One benefit of an irrevocable Trust is that the assets usually cannot be removed once they have been placed inside the Trust. If people want the option to change a Trust as their circumstances change, they may want to consider a revocable Trust. This type can also keep assets from being subject to probate. Sometimes people may want a portion of their assets to benefit a certain charity after their deaths. In this case, they may want to establish a charitable Trust.

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