Will and Trust Guidance in Oklahoma City and the Surrounding Areas
If you are looking to write a will or create a trust, our team at the Self Legal Group can help. We use our 150 years of collective legal experience to build comprehensive estate plans for our clients. Our Oklahoma City will and trust lawyers can walk you through what each tool can accomplish and help you write customized documents tailored to your goals. Whether you need a simple will or a sophisticated trust, we have the diverse skills needed to assist you.
Our OKC legal professionals also regularly handle cases involving business law, family law, and personal injury law. We know how these legal areas can intersect and we will incorporate any concerns you may have into your will or trust. Our team is prepared to handle cases of all complexities and will make sure your documents are clear, thorough, and enforceable.
Get started on your estate plan today. Call (405) 451-3534 or contact us online to schedule a Free Initial Phone Consultation.
How Wills and Trusts Differ
Wills and trusts both assist with asset distribution. In other words, they let you decide who will receive your property once you are gone. However, these tools handle asset distribution differently and have several other important differences.
Wills and trusts have different levels of:
- Privacy. The contents of your will are made public during the probate process, meaning anyone can review your assets and who you intend to leave them to. The contents of a trust are known only to you, the trustee, and the trust beneficiaries.
- Flexibility. Trusts are highly customizable and can be tailored to accomplish your unique objectives. For example, trusts can be set up to transfer assets throughout your life (in addition to once you are gone) when certain conditions are met. Wills offer less control, as assets can in most cases only be distributed after you pass away.
- Simplicity. The will is a more straightforward document, and it does not generally require maintenance beyond the occasional update. Trusts must be carefully managed and are generally more complex.
- Efficiency. When you pass away, assets named in your will are not immediately distributed to your beneficiaries. Instead, your estate must go through a lengthy (and often costly) probate process. Only after probate has been completed will your assets be distributed, meaning it may be months (or even years) before your loved ones receive their inheritances. Assets placed in trusts do not need to go through probate, and they can be distributed immediately as you wanted.
If you pass away without a will or trust, you will have no control over who receives your assets. Under Oklahoma’s intestacy laws, your closest surviving relatives will generally inherit estate property. If no living relatives can be found, the government will get your assets.
Many people debate whether they should use a will or trust, but it is often a good idea to have both. A living trust can be used to skip most of probate and manage inheritances, while your will can name a guardian for your minor children and transfer any remaining assets into your living trust. You can also use additional trusts designed to accomplish certain objectives that are less specifically related to asset distribution. For example, you might use an irrevocable trust to minimize the impact of federal estate taxes.
If you are confused or overwhelmed, our Oklahoma City will and trust attorneys can help you understand your options and determine which documents are right for you. Every estate plan is different, we can help you implement a strategy that gives you the peace of mind you deserve.
Validating a Will in Oklahoma
Creating a will is not as simple as writing down your final wishes. You must take specific steps to validate your will in Oklahoma. Otherwise, your document may not be enforceable.
Anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind can validate a will. You are considered “of sound mind” if you generally understand the scope of your estate and the legal impact of your signing the document. A person with declining mental faculties may not be considered “of sound mind” in the eyes of the law, which is why it is important to write and validate your will as early as possible.
Your will must be in writing, and you must sign it in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must also sign your will, and they may be called upon to verify the document’s legitimacy.
You are not required to notarize your will in Oklahoma, but doing so can be useful. When you sign your will in the presence of a notary, you make it “self-proving,” meaning the probate court will not need to confirm its authenticity or validity. Put differently, notarizing your will can give you additional peace of mind.
Our Oklahoma City will and trust lawyers can work to ensure your document has been properly validated. Our team at the Self Legal Group can also help you update your will as your circumstances change.
If you need help writing your will or establishing a trust, get knowledgeable guidance from an OKC attorney. Call (405) 451-3534 or contact us online today.
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