Oklahoma City Estate Planning Lawyers
Understanding Living Trusts and Wills in Oklahoma
Have you thought about what will happen to your property and assets after you die? Most likely yes, you have – to some extent. Have you thought about how you are going to do this though? Estate planning is your how and encompasses everything from transferring your business, assets, and property to detailing who will make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated.
Be prepared for your future and set your loved ones up for success by hiring an experienced Oklahoma City estate planning attorney at Simmons & Associates, PLLC. Get in touch and submit an online contact form or call our office at (855) 973-8877 to start today!
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of determining who will inherit your asset base in the case that you die or become incapacitated. Some of the items you might want to include in an estate plan are:
- Savings and checking accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- Life insurance policies
- Business ownership
- Personal belongings
What Do I Need to Know About Estate Planning in Oklahoma City?
Estate planning can get complicated as it consists of many steps. However, it is these steps that will help safeguard your future and the well-being of your loved ones when you die. Here are some factors you should consider as you create an estate plan in Oklahoma City:
- It is important to understand Oklahoma’s state estate and inheritance tax laws. Oklahoma has an estate tax law requirement, but does not impose an inheritance tax law.
- Before you start the estate planning process, you should make a list of your asset base and determine each asset’s estimated value.
- Establish important legal directives when you are healthy. These orders will protect you in the case that you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself (trusts and wills are examples of legal directives).
- Take some time to decide who to appoint as your beneficiary/beneficiaries.
- Consult with an Oklahoma City estate planning attorney if you are unsure about the process or just want professional assistance.
What Is the Difference Between a Will, a Living Trust, and an Estate Plan?
A trust or a will is part of an estate plan. An estate plan itself is much more comprehensive and will detail additional items such as legal directives, asset allocation, and beneficiary designation. Here is a breakdown of the main differences between a will, living trust, and an estate plan:
- A will is responsible for dividing your assets after you die.
- A living trust is responsible for dividing your assets while you are still alive in the event that you die.
- An estate plan is a process that includes the transfer of property and other assets, as well as personal matters, in the case of incapacitation or death. The core document in this plan is typically a will.
Living Trusts vs Wills in Oklahoma
There are many factors to consider before you decide to create a living trust or will. For starters, you will need to know the key differences between them. Both have specific advantages and disadvantages that should be known before you decide how you will divide your assets after you die.
Advantages of a Living Trust
There are many advantages to a living trust. The main advantage is that it allows you to play a more active role in what happens to your assets during and after your death. If you would like to have more influence during this process, then this form of asset management is for you.
Other advantages of a living trust include but are not limited to the following:
- Avoids probate
- Maintains the privacy of your estate
Disadvantages of a Living Trust
Although there are many advantages to a living trust, there are also some disadvantages. One of the primary drawbacks to a living trust is cost. As legal and financial assistance is required to establish and administer a living trust, there will be more upfront costs. However, when comparing these costs to the cost of probate, as well as the cost of paying the executor of your estate, you might spend less money in the long run with a living trust.
Other disadvantages of a living trust might include:
- Requires more complexity and planning
- Lack of tax advantages (depending on your situation)
Advantages of a Will
A will also has its perks. A will might be in your favor if you are looking to play a more passive role with asset allocation. The main advantages of a will include but are not limited to the following:
- Less expensive to set up
- Does not require active management
- Easier to establish
Disadvantages of a Will
If you decide to move forward with a will, you should be aware of the disadvantages too. Some of the disadvantages of a will are:
- Must go through the probate process
- Can be more expensive if the probate process gets complicated
- Your estate matters become public record
The Importance of Hiring an Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust
It is not always easy to figure out how to protect your estate after you die. Hire an Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer you can trust to provide you with professional support. Our estate planning lawyers in Oklahoma City understand the importance of a thorough, legally binding estate plan. We can help you safeguard your assets for future generations.
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