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Small tweaks make estate planning even more effective

Responsible estate planners often look at a number of different outcomes and possibilities when reviewing their documents. Even at its most basic, estate planning can provide a surprising number of protections and benefits. For those in Oklahoma who are performing an annual review of their plan, it might be time to consider if substitutes or backups should be included.

Creating an estate plan and naming a trustworthy executor is an especially responsible move to make, but what happens if an executor is not available to perform his or her duties? While an annual check of a plan can address big changes that happened over the previous year, it cannot account for everything that may happen in the following 12 months. When an executor becomes incapacitated or even dies before being able to complete the task, it is up to the court to name a substitute.

Of course, the probate court will do its best to choose the best possible executor, but the substitute might not be an individual in whom the deceased had a great amount of trust. Even simply passing the task off to the closest surviving family member can be a mistake, as there is no guarantee that person is responsible enough to take on the task. This outcome can be avoided by simply naming an alternative executor who can step in and take over in the event that the original executor is no longer able to do so. In both cases, it is a good idea to inform both individuals of their named roles and make sure that each is up to the task.

An alternative executor is only one of any number of protections afforded by the estate planning process. Without these tools, some estates might require much more frequent reviews, making the process exhausting. Instead, people in Oklahoma can create estate plans that require infrequent attention and remain effective throughout the year.

Source:, "Estate Planning Reminders for This Tax Season", Julian Block, Feb. 8, 2016

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