Estate Planning Attorney OKC, Oklahoma Estate Planning Lawyer - Cortes Law Firm

Oklahoma Estate Planning Attorneys

Proper Estate planning is for everyone. Anyone can become disabled at any time. Oklahoma Estate planning is about making certain YOUR wishes are followed.

"While I am living I want to control my stuff. If I become disabled I want to take care of myself and my loved ones. I want to give what I want, to whom I want, when I want."

What is estate planning? 

Estate planning is the process of making sure your assets are distributed the way you want them to be after you die. This can be done through a will, trusts, or other legal mechanisms.  It's important to have an estate plan in order to protect your assets and your loved ones. Without a plan, your assets could be distributed in a way that you don't want, and your loved ones could be left without the support they need. Family estates are something that should be protected.

We know that each individual and family is unique. That is why we take time as lawyers, at the beginning of each relationship, to sit down and visit regarding your goals and dreams. And, to carefully listen to your worries and fears. We are proud to provide each client with personalized representation and individual attention. Families can use an Estate Planning Lawyer to help them with all of the necessary documents to title their real property and assets correctly. You need a firm with the experience and staff to approach your planning like a business and keep the peace from one generation to the next.

How would you describe your typical estate planning client?

My typical estate planning client is an individual or family who wants to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they die. They may have concerns about the estate tax, probate, or other issues that can arise after death. They want to make sure that their loved ones are taken care of and that their wishes are carried out.

Estate planning is a topic that may seem intimidating. It's not! Our estate law attorneys can help you make it easy and straightforward for when the time comes. We provide high-quality legal representation with your best interests in mind to ensure things go smoothly, including: wills, trusts, power of attorney, guardianship and more. We offer free legal consultation to answer your estate planning questions. No two cases are similar and our law firm is happy to show you different options that are available to you.

What are the different types of estate planning? 

There are many different types of estate planning, and the best way to figure out which one is right for you is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Some of the different types of estate planning include wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Healthcare Directives. Estate planning is an important process that everyone should go through, especially if you have any assets or property that you want to protect. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you figure out the best way

What are the benefits of estate planning? 

Estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of how much money or assets you have. An estate plan can help you protect your assets and your family in the event of your death or incapacity. A well-drafted estate plan can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death or incapacity, and can help to minimize the stress and confusion for your loved ones. Estate planning can also help to ensure that your assets are protected from creditors and predators. For example, you can set up a trust to hold your assets, which can help to shield them from creditors. 

It does not matter how big an inheritance you want to leave to your children. Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Everyone has an estate, even if it is just a few personal belongings.

Planning can help estates avoid unnecessary tax. The gift tax exclusion or charitable trusts can also be utilized to transfer wealth to your heirs.

Proper estate planning can also help to avoid litigation from a party (like a child) who believes they have rights to make a claim against your estate. They might believe they have suffered an injury and are entitled to damages and compensation from your estate. This is usually the case when someone does a DIY estate plan and does not execute or draft the documents correctly.

What are the key components of estate planning? 

Estate planning is a process that helps you to manage your assets and property in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. The key components of estate planning include creating a will, setting up trusts, and naming beneficiaries. 

When you create a Revocable Trust or a last will, you are essentially creating a legal document that outlines your wishes for what should happen to your belongings after you die. You will need to name a Successor Trustee or an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, and distributing your assets according to your instructions. This person will need to be someone you trust implicitly, as they will have a great deal of responsibility and will need to act in your best interests. Choose someone who is organized and level-headed, who can think clearly under pressure, and who you can trust to always have your best interests at heart. This is not a decision to be taken lightly - this person will be responsible for making decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. Choose someone you trust implicitly and who you know will always have your best interests at heart. This person will be your voice when you can't speak for yourself, so it's important to choose wisely.

You can also create a power of attorney, which gives someone else the authority to manage your finances if you become incapacitated. This document is important to have in case you are ever in an accident or become ill and are unable to make financial decisions for yourself. Without a power of attorney, your loved ones would have to go to court to get permission to manage your finances, which would be a lengthy and expensive process. By having a power of attorney in place, you can avoid this hassle and ensure that your finances are taken care of in the event that you become incapacitated. 

What are the risks of not having an estate plan?

If you die without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to your state's laws of intestate succession. These laws determine how your property is distributed if you die without a will. The laws vary from state to state, but generally, your spouse and children will inherit your property. If you are not married and do not have children, your parents, siblings, or other relatives will inherit your property.

Lawyers call this Client-Centered Estate Planning.

The goal for lawyers is to develop long-term relationships with you, so that your wishes become the key objective of your estate plan. Serving Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas, we want to ensure that everything in your life will be taken care of and you can rest assured knowing that all decisions are in good hands. To learn more about our services, follow this link or contact us today by phone. Read one of our many reviews. Whether it's probate planning, wills and trusts, or business succession planning we are here to help you.

What are the common mistakes people make when estate planning?

The most common mistake people make when estate planning is failing to plan at all. This can have devastating consequences for loved ones left behind. Other common mistakes include: • Not having a will. If you die without a will, the state will decide how your assets are distributed, which may not be in line with your wishes. • Not updating your will. If you don't keep your will up to date, it may not reflect your current wishes. 

How often should I review my estate plan?

It is important to review your estate plan periodically to make sure that it still meets your needs and reflects your current wishes. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to review your estate plan every few years or more often. If you experience a major life event, such as getting married, having a child, or buying a home, you should review your estate plan to make sure it still meets your needs.

How would you describe your typical estate planning client?

My typical estate planning client is an individual or family who wants to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they die. They may have concerns about estate taxes, probate, or other issues that can arise after death. They want to make sure that their loved ones are taken care of and that their wishes are carried out. Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Everyone has an estate, even if it is just a few personal belongings.

Estate planning strategies to protect you and your family

Revocable Trust

Revocable Trusts are now the fundamental foundation of proper Estate Planning. Individuals of any ages, individual backgrounds, and monetary circumstances.

Revocable Trusts are main stream because when put up against a Last Will and Testament, a Revocable Trust offers many more advantages:

  1. A Revocable Trust secures your confidentiality by maintaining your final wishes a core family matter, given that just your beneficiaries and Trustees are permitted to read the trust agreement after your death. However, a Last Will and Testament is filed with the probate court and is a public record, which anyone can access.
  2. A Revocable Trust gives directions for your health care and the administration of your assets if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. Because Last Will and Testament is only effective upon death, it is useless for incapacity planning.
  3. With proper funding of your assets into your Revocable Trust during your lifetime, then those specific assets will avoid the expensive and time consuming probate process. Property that passes under the terms of a Last Will and Testament most likely will have to be probated. Costing your estate thousands of dollars.
Revocable Trust Oklahoma

Oklahoma Revocable Living Trust Estate Planning

This is the most important part of Client-Centered Estate Planning. Together with the documents below, a revocable living trust can be easily changed during your life. You retain total control of the assets in the trust. If you become disabled, then your Disability Trustee provides continuity in taking care of your affairs and loved ones. A Revocable Living Trust will can also make estate administration easier and quicker.

Many people think that estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Estate planning can help to protect assets and ensure your legacy will last long after you are gone. You might have several heirs, but maybe only want some of them to be a beneficiary.

Pour Over Will

A pour over will is just a fancy name for a Last Will and Testament when it is part of client-centered estate plan created by a lawyer. The goal of having a revocable living trust is to put ALL of your assets in the Trust. However, sometimes a person will forget to title an asset in the name of the trust. It is not ideal, but when this happens the Pour Over Will with a probate proceeding transfers (pours) the asset into the Trust. The Personal Representative is usually the same person as the Successor Trustee.

The Pour Over Will also plays a very important role for parents by naming guardians for minor children. In addition, if there was an unexpected change in trust laws a pour over will can still outline every devisee or legatee that you want or don't want to receive an inheritance.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) grants an agent or "attorney-in-fact" the power to manage assets outside a trust during incapacity. 

A DPOA is a document, under law in Oklahoma, that gives an agent power to do something for or on behalf of another person, the "principal," who grants power. 

Durable Power of Attorneys laws vary from state to state. The power given in a DPOA may be broad and far-reaching, such as in a general POA, which allows the agent almost unlimited authority, so long as it does not conflict with any other fiduciary duty owed by the agent under local law.

Alternately, the power may be narrow and specific: for example, one power to sell tangible personal property and another to transfer stock.

A Power of Attorney allows an agent to make decisions when the person who granted power is no longer able to do so, if they lose the ability to make informed decisions due to illness or disability. It can also be referred to as a power of attorney that lasts "even if I lose my capacity." This power continues even after the principal becomes incapacitated and overrides any other power of attorney document that may have been created earlier.

A DPOA grants an agent power to do something for the principal. A power of attorney must be in writing, signed by the person granting power, and properly notarized. It may also be witnessed or verified.

Without a Power of Attorney in place, then a family might need to seek a conservatorship appointed by the Court.

Some states require that a power of attorney contain specific language for it to be durable , but others will simply presume that any power granted is durable unless specifically stated otherwise.

A DPOA ends either by revocation of the principal while he or she still has legal capacity, or the death of either party. Watch the planning video below:

Health Care Power of Attorneys

This is similar to a durable power of attorney, but grants an agent or "health care power of attorney" the power to make medical decisions. You might see this abbreviated as HCPOA

To be truly effective this should be used with a living will and HIPAA authorization.

Health Care Power of Attorneys may be used to give an agent the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you become unable or unwilling to make those decisions yourself. The HCPOA is often called "proxy directives" because they allow someone else (your "agent" or "health care proxy") to make health care decisions on your behalf in a manner that's very similar to how a durable power of attorney designates a person who can manage your financial affairs when you cannot.

Without a HCPOA in place, then a family might need to have a guardianship appointed by the Court.

A HCPOA must comply with specific requirements under State law in order to be valid and binding. Health Care Power of Attorneys may be made effective only under certain conditions, such as when you are in an irreversible coma from which recovery is unlikely.

Health care power of attorney can be very useful if your family members aren't able to make health-care decisions for you or don't agree about what your wishes would have been on a particular treatment option. HCPOA often give the person designated as your agent great flexibility to decide how best to proceed with medical treatment based on available information and his or her own understanding of your wishes.

It's important that you discuss these issues with friends or relatives who could serve this role before it becomes necessary, so they understand what types of treatments you would have wanted. Health-care providers may also seek advice from a family member or friend who was involved in making health care decisions for you before acting on the power of attorney directive.

Advanced Directive Estate Planning

Advance directives or "living will" provides your health care power of attorney and medical professionals end of life guidance for your wishes.

An advanced directive, or living will, is a written document that lets people state their wishes about their medical treatment when they can no longer communicate. It provides guidance to your health care agent and medical providers about the type of treatments you would want in the event you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

The advanced directive can include specific instructions about end-of-life choices including whether a person wants to continue with life support technology such as artificial ventilation or intubation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, feeding tubes and hydration tubes. The advanced directive may also include provisions regarding pain management and other specific medical treatments.

Your advanced directive will be most effective if you:

  1. Specify your wishes about medical treatment
  2. Keep the advanced directive up to date with your current desires and beliefs
  3. Discuss your advanced directives with family and friends who may serve as your health care power of attorney

Living wills are legal in every state, but certain states have additional requirements. For example, some states require that advanced directives meet certain language requirements or be notarized before they will be recognized by health care providers. Our lawyers can assist you with this.

HIPAA Authorization

A HIPAA authorization grants someone (usually your Trustee and Health Care Power of Attorney) the power to access your medical records and talk with your medical providers. Our lawyers can help you with this.

There may be times where you want a partner or spouse to be able to reach your medical provider and get information about how you are doing while in the hospital. If so, then complete the HIPAA representative form so that your family member can access your medical records if necessary. Your designated HIPAA representative will be able to speak with medical providers for important information regarding your health.

Trust Funding Lawyer

Trust funding involves titling all of your assets in the name of your Trust. If you forget to transfer an asset (including bank accounts and real property), then your heirs will need to probate the Pour Over Will to move the asset into the Trust for distribution. Trust funding is extremely important for client-centered Oklahoma estate planning. Estate planning lawyers can help with this process.

Real Estate in Trust

Your real estate should be titled in the name of your Trust. Our attorneys help our clients with the necessary documents to title their real property correctly.

Title Real Estate into Trust. Real estate is a great asset that must be titled in the name of your Trust. Our lawyers help our clients with the necessary documents to title their real property correctly. An Estate Planning Lawyer can help you with all of this.

Cortes Law Firm Estate Planning

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