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Which trusts are useful for estate planning?

Each individual in Oklahoma has unique needs that must be addressed during estate planning, and while these needs will differ from person to person, the means to address them might be surprisingly similar. Trusts can be utilized in a variety of ways that can prove to be useful both before and after death. Whether the goal is to avoid probate, protect finances or maintain privacy, trusts can usually be helpful.

Wills are an understandably essential aspect of virtually every estate plan, but they are not especially effective at circumventing probate. Trusts are much more effective at passing on assets and inheritances directly. For those concerned with ensuring a smooth transfer of wealth while maintaining a certain level of privacy, trusts tend to be a tried and true method.

Trusts can also be used to protect an individual's finances before death. Living trusts -- which are usually used in conjunction with living wills -- allow another individual to manage certain assets and finances should the trust's creator become unable to do so. These trusts typically include health care powers of attorney that give another person the legal right to act as a health care surrogate in order to make medical and financial decisions on another's behalf.

These important estate planning tools tend to get a bad rap from stereotypes, like so-called trust fund kids. Trusts actually perform vital duties for Oklahoma residents who are planning their estates. By combining trusts and other useful documents, such as wills, most people can be assured that their estate will be handled smoothly both before and after their death.

Source:, "4 Strategies to Avoid an Estate-Planning Mishap", C. Grant Conness, Aug. 2, 2016

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