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.
Life is constantly changing thanks to new advances in technology that allow most people in Oklahoma to live healthier, longer lives. On average, people are living longer than ever before, creating new opportunities for people to better enjoy the last years of their lives. However, this also means that estate planning strategies that worked for previous generations -- including trusts -- might need to be updated.
A complete estate plan will look different for each person in Oklahoma. What might work quite well for one individual can be far less effective for another, but there are a few key items that tend to form the backbone of most plans. Wills, living wills and trusts are all common features of estate planning, even if they are applied in different manners. However, trusts tend to be some of the least understood and utilized estate planning tools.
There are a number of tools at the disposal of estate planners that can help create the most secure plan possible. Among these, trusts are some of the most popular and versatile documents, especially when it comes to leaving an inheritance. Parents in Oklahoma who are worried about their children potentially wasting or misusing their inheritances can use trusts to limit how inheritances are distributed.
Parents of more moderate means tend to eschew the idea of trusts for their children. After all, most people in Oklahoma are familiar with the idea of pampered individuals living off of trust funds rather than earning their way in the world. That image might be popular for use in media, like television and movies, but trusts can actually make valuable contributions to children's futures.
Estate planning is not an easy task. It requires that you ponder inheritance questions, end-of-life decisions and more. When you have a loved one with special needs, the process becomes emotionally taxing and difficult. There is a special type of trust for these circumstances, which is called a special needs trust. Oklahoma residents need to understand the benefits of special needs trusts before moving forward with setting one up.
Regardless of age or wealth, having an estate plan in place is important for all Oklahoma residents. Even if all you have is a vehicle and a meager checking account, those are still assets that must be accounted for upon your passing. The two most common estate planning documents that dictate what happens to a person's assets after death are wills and trusts. While many may be familiar with those terms, few may know the exact difference between the two.
As our parents age, many Oklahoma residents consider the possibility that they may eventually require residential health care. Few of us are comfortable discussing the matter, especially well in advance of such a need. That, however, is exactly when the topic should be broached. Savvy families will take steps to ensure that loved ones will have the ability to access needed care, while also preserving the family's assets for the next generation(s). Within this process, trusts can be valuable tools.
Many Oklahoma residents are lucky enough to find a second chance for love after going through a divorce. This is truly a reason for celebration, as sharing one's life with a committed partner is often essential to both health and happiness. When looking at estate planning needs, however, there are certain protections that individuals should consider when they are married for a second or subsequent time. Irrevocable trusts are an estate planning tool that appeals to many spouses, and can provide a layer of security for loved ones.
No Oklahoma parent wants to think about leaving a child in the world without parental guidance. That said, none of us knows what the future holds, and parents have an obligation to plan for the worst, even while hoping for the best. In terms of estate planning, parents should give careful consideration to whom should be designated as a child's legal guardian in the event of the death of one or both parents. Once that decision has been made, trusts should be the next step in the planning process.