Estate planning is for everyone, not just the rich. Your “estate” consists of personal property, vehicles, life insurance, savings accounts, checking accounts, and homes. Anything you own that holds monetary value. An estate plan refers to the preparation for the transfer of a person’s wealth and assets after his/her death. The estate plan covers a variety of areas. These include your last will and testament to different types of trusts, Power of Attorney, estate administration, and more. In this article, we will discuss different aspects of estate planning in specific detail. If you are considering making decisions in regards to your assets, life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, personal belongings, and/or debts consult with estate planning representation though the Tulsa Attorney Directory.
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In Tulsa a will permits the person writing the will, also known as the testator, to provide for a spouse, children, and other loved ones following their death. It also allows the individual to name a personal representative for the estate. Without a will, in place, the property passes by “intestate succession” to heirs according to state law. Simply put the state of Oklahoma will make a will for you if there is not a valid one in place at the time of your death. Laws pertaining to Wills vary state to state, and in Oklahoma, no notary is required to create a legal and binding will. In order for an Oklahoma Will to be valid, the heirs’ names must be clearly stated and an executor must be named. It must also be signed in front of two witnesses; who are also required to sign the will. The testator must be at least eighteen years of age, of sound mind, and also sign the will. Although the guardian selection is not binding in court, having your selection stated in a will bear a burden on the court decision.
Every trust shall be revocable by the trustor unless expressly made irrevocable by the terms of the instrument creating the same. Provided, that any trust may be revoked by the trustor upon the written consent of all living persons having vested or contingent interest therein. The term “contingent interest,” as used in this section, shall include an interest which a beneficiary may take by purchase, and exclude any interest which a beneficiary may take by descent. Provided further that this section shall not apply to a spendthrift trust unless the same is created by the trustor for his own benefit.
The regular probate process includes the preparation and filing of several legal pleadings. As well as, accounting for all estate funds, conducting property appraisals for the estate, and publishing specific notices to creditors and possible heirs in newspapers. All while attending and participating in several court hearings. In addition, the executor must prepare interim and final tax returns for the estate. Finally, the distribution of property pursuant to the will’s instructions begins once approved by the court.
Probate is the legal process where a court oversees the administration of a person’s estate following death. It generally includes an inventory of all estate assets. Along with repaying any debts or taxes from the estate, and the distribution of the remaining assets pursuant to the will’s instructions. In Tulsa, the first step is filing the will for probate in the district court where the decedent resided.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is also known as a Durable Power of Attorney. This document is designed to speak for you when and if you can’t speak for yourself. Be very careful who you choose as your agent, as they will have the legal right to act on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is a written legal document that gives your legal authorization for someone else to act on your behalf. This is valid until an expiration date is reached, you die, or it is canceled. Even if you have a healthcare proxy, a power of attorney is required. Different types of POA include:
Simple POA- Is signed in front of a notary public and automatically ends with either death or mental incapacitation.
Healthcare or Business Affairs POA- Must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public. It does not end if the principal becomes mentally incompetent but automatically ends when the principal dies. This is a temporary document used for limited circumstances and purposes.
Springing POA- Must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public, and automatically ends when the principal dies or becomes disabled. This POA does not allow the power to be used until the principal is unable to conduct business for himself. A doctor determines competency, but in the POA you can establish a test to guide the doctor. The Springing POA is most useful for seniors or someone facing a serious illness and may be combined with a Durable Power of Attorney.
Durable POA- This must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public, and automatically ends when the principal dies. A Durable POA does not end if the principal becomes mentally incompetent.
When you need the services of an experienced estate planning attorney use the Tulsa Attorney Directory to hire the firm who has the knowledge required to assist you with all of your estate planning and probate needs.