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The Foundation For Your Estate Plan

While you may have told your family how you want your estate distributed upon your death, your wishes won't be legally enforceable unless written in a document. That document could be a last will and testament or a living trust.

At Postic & Bates, our estate planning lawyers create wills for people in Oklahoma. We also create living trusts and other estate planning documents such as living wills and powers of attorney.

How could a will help you? Call our Oklahoma City office at 405-814-6524 or email us to find out during a free initial consult.

What Are The Advantages Of Having A Will?

A last will and testament is a document that gives legal enforceability to your wishes for your estate. A will does not become effective until death and after it has gone through the probate process. This can be a disadvantage for some, and using a living trust can help avoid the delay and expense of a probate proceeding.

Having a last will and testament that is probated has many benefits at all stages in life, including:

  • If you have young children. Without a legal designation, the court can decide who will care for your children if you die before they reach the age of 18.
  • If you have accumulated assets or wealth such as savings and home equity. A will allows you to decide how to distribute those assets, how they can be used before distribution and at what ages to make distributions.
  • If you work in a high-liability profession such as the medical field. Probate provides a limited amount of time for creditors to file claims against the estate. If claims are not filed during that time, they will be barred.
  • If you anticipate a dispute involving property distribution. The probate court will serve as a referee when one or more parties dispute the validity of a will or contest its terms. The process also gives your heirs an opportunity to address all of their claims at one time.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will?

If you die without a last will and testament, Oklahoma statutes will decide how your estate should be distributed in a process called intestate succession.

While your legal heirs will receive your property, you won't necessarily get the results that you wanted. For example, if you are married, but own your house in your individual names, your spouse would only get half of your share of the property and your children will receive the other half.

Children who are heirs will receive property when they are of legal age, which in Oklahoma is age 18. However, this may not be what you wanted. We often ask our clients what they would have done if somebody gave them $100,000 at age 18. The answer prompts many of our clients to create a will or a trust, which allows them to draft instructions as to how and when they want assets distributed.

Intestate successions also require the personal representative (also called an executor or administrator of the estate) to post a bond equal to the cash of the estate. By creating a last will and testament or a trust, the requirement of bond is waived and the expenses of obtaining such a bond avoided.

Read More About Estate Planning Or Talk To An Attorney For Free

At Postic & Bates, we want you to know about your estate planning options, which is why we make getting more information easy and affordable. You can download a digital copy of our free estate planning guide from our website, contact us for a paper copy or schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney.

Call our office at 405-814-6524 or toll free at 800-575-6838.

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