No one wants to spend a great deal of time considering the end of his or her life, but Oklahoma residents of any age and financial situation should make time to consider estate planning needs now. From power of attorney designations to the disbursement of your assets, creating legal documents now means you don't have to worry about heirs or family members dealing with complex probate issues later. Not every family or individual needs every estate planning document, but there are some common things you should consider.
Consider a will that details how assets are divided among heirs. A will also lets you lay out care plans for minor children or pets. Don't just consider the welfare of those who depend on you -- have a power of attorney in place so someone is able to handle financial matters should you be incapacitated. Separate from a regular power of attorney is a health care power of attorney. Combine it with a living will to spell out your desires for end-of-life health care.
Create a revocable living trust to avoid some probate issues and taxes. If you have insurance or investments, make sure to complete necessary beneficiary designations so funds or assets pass to the correct individual upon your death. It's a good idea to layer designations -- if your primary beneficiary dies before you, who will the funds go to?
Two documents that hold no legal significance, but could make things easier on family members, are the letter of intent and list of documents. The list of documents details all the estate documents, insurance paperwork or other information that could be required. Create several copies of a list that tells heirs were to find all documents, and provide the copy to several trustworthy people or your estate administrator. A letter of intent simply spells out your wishes for nonlegal issues, such as funeral arrangements.
Source: MSN Money, "Estate-planning documents you need right now" Marilyn Lewis, Apr. 18, 2014