Oklahoma Wills, Trust, and Probate
Setting out an estate plan in the event of your death or incapacity can be an emotional and occasionally overwhelming process. There are many different options to choose from when crafting your plan. For instance, you could have a will, trust, advanced care directive, healthcare surrogate designation, and/or durable power of attorney, among others. It is best to consult with an Oklahoma attorney who specializes in creating such estate plans, to be certain that the plan you create is the best one possible for you.
It is recommended that you update your estate plan whenever you undergo significant changes in your life. These changes may include marriage, death, birth, divorce, retirement or incapacity. Ask your Oklahoma estate-planning lawyer to help you re-shape and revise your estate plan whenever these events occur.
An incorrectly or irregularly worded will in Oklahoma may result in an objectionable distribution of your assets. To guarantee that your money and other property is distributed according to your desires, you must have:
Having a self-proving will means that you will not have to locate the original witnesses and ask them to attest to the will in court before the will may be admitted to probate. Thus, self-proving wills can be very convenient. Finding the original witnesses to a will, sometimes years after the will has been signed, can be a lengthy process and a Oklahoma wills attorney can help.
Changing a Will in Oklahoma
Change your will by drafting a codicil (usually a separate piece of paper attached to the will) that sets out amendments or additions to your original will. Make sure that your codicil follows the correct Oklahoma procedure for a will (i.e.-it should be in writing, the signing should be observed by two witnesses, etc.). If you seek to completely change your will, you should consider revoking the will. If you revoke your will, the will is no longer valid, and you can write a new will, which will be controlling. To revoke your will you many write clearly that the will is revoked, or you may destroy the will by burning, obliterating, or tearing the will.
If you are considering making changes to or canceling your will, discuss your options with an Oklahoma will attorney, who can help you make the right decision for you and make sure that your wishes are carried out.
If you do not want to provide for the disbursement of your property in a will, you should consider using a trust to do so. An Oklahoma trust can provide you with a way to circumvent probate and to save money on taxes. Trusts may be designed to be both revocable and irrevocable. There are also many different kinds of trusts: educational, charitable, life insurance, living (inter vivos) and special needs. As such, trusts are adaptable to your situation.
Although trusts are useful, they can also be complicated to set up. It is important to discuss your situation with an Oklahoma trusts lawyer if you seek to construct a trust, to make sure the trust is constructed to suit your circumstances.
Leaving a will in Oklahoma generally means that your property will pass through probate. However, if part of your estate is unaccounted for in your will, or you do not leave a will, the court will dispense the property based on Oklahoma laws of intestate succession (according to each person’s degree of blood relationship to the deceased).
In Oklahoma, when there is any ambiguity about who should inherit property (either by intestate succession or in a will), parties interested in the distribution of the decedent’s property may implore the court to make a decision about who should receive the money or property, and how much property he or she should receive.
In Oklahoma, if a decedent’s estate is worth $150,000 or less, the probate court may dispense with formal probate proceedings after an appraisal of the estate.
The following, non-exclusive list of persons may inherit through intestate succession:
Because the validity of a will in Oklahoma may be challenged long after the will has been drafted, you should talk to a Oklahoma probate lawyer if you are uneasy about the durability of, or any terms in, your will.
Oklahoma Statutes, Title 84 – Wills and Succession