As many Oklahoma residents know, an estate plan is a vital part of any person's preparation for death. Furthermore, since the inevitable end of our lives can happen at a time when we least expect it to, it is best to prepare your estate now rather than waiting until it is too late. Generally, individuals create their estate plans and irrevocable trusts for the benefit of their family members and heirs; however, it may also be beneficial to consider your pets needs too.
Every year, many residents of Oklahoma are either met with rewards or regrets in their ability to plan ahead. Neglecting one's estate plan can have a direct impact on the legacy left behind and cause more grief that extends beyond the stage of mourning and acceptance.
Some Oklahoma residents mindful of estate planning sway back and forth on the idea of starting a trust. In general, a trust is either living or testamentary, with the latter type taking effect only after the trustor's death. Living trusts can be further divided into those that are irrevocable and those that are revocable.
Trusts can be an effective tool to use in planning an estate. A trust can be used to manage assets upon the death of a person for the benefit of children or others, protect the privacy of the person who established the trust, protect assets from additional tax burdens and manage a person's own assets while they are still living in case they become disabled.
By establishing a living trust, Oklahoma individuals may be able to avoid the lengthy, public and expensive process of probate. Additionally, they can create a plan to handle disability and retain control over their assets so that they can use them during their lifetime. At the same time, they can prepare for the future and set parameters around how heirs should use assets and income from the trust.
Oklahoma residents interested in setting up an estate plan may wonder if they should establish both a will and a trust. While both are ways to transfer assets to heirs after someone dies, a trust offers certain benefits. Will go through the public process of probate, where the will is validated. During probate such liabilities as taxes and debts the deceased may have owed to creditors are paid. The probate process may take months before assets are distributed to the heirs. Some states have an accelerated type of probate for estates with total assets under a certain dollar amount.
Oklahoma residents may know that estate planning is an important part of planning for the future. Making sure one's beneficiaries receive their legacy in a cost-effective direct way allows a benefactor to have peace of mind. The type of estate planning tools one uses is an important consideration. Assets that do not require a will or trust include insurance policies and retirement plans since they have beneficiaries named in the document. For other assets, there are two main ways to transfer wealth to beneficiaries.