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Estate planning can go beyond a simple will

A will can play a major part in an Oklahoma resident's estate plan. However, estate planning can, and often should, go far beyond simply utilizing a will to express final wishes. There are many aspects of life and death that a comprehensive plan could cover, and simply relying on a will may be a mistake.

One reason a will may not be enough is that it does not cover health care-related details. Because an estate plan can address long-term care needs and wishes for treatment in the event of incapacitation, it is important for individuals to utilize the proper documents to indicate those wishes. An advance medical directive could give instructions on what treatment options are acceptable, which are not and whether a person would want to remain on life support.

When it comes to distributing assets, having only a will can still leave a plan lacking. Though individuals can leave their distribution wishes in their will, there are many assets that need addressing outside the will. Ensuring that beneficiary designations have been made on savings accounts, retirement accounts and other necessary accounts could avoid complications.

There can be a lot to cover during the estate planning process, and some parties may not see the point in going beyond a simple will. However, taking the time to learn more about the various planning tools and options may allow Oklahoma residents to understand that they can plan for more than they had originally thought. Discussing their needs and desires with legal professionals could help interested parties determine their best planning options.

Source: Forbes, "7 Big Estate Planning Mistakes", Bob Carlson, Feb. 21, 2018

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