March 1

Questions People also ask estate planning

Cortes Law Firm Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney

What are the five components of estate planning?

Estate planning questions people also ask on Google. What are the five components of estate planning? This is a great question because a lot of times people come into our office and they have a preconceived idea of what estate planning is.

Five Components of an Estate Plan

And usually that means that they think it's something that happens after they're passing the five components of estate planning are a revocable living trust a pour over will a power of attorney for your finances, a health care power of attorney for your health and your advance directive. And usually along with that advanced directive and in the health care power of attorney you have your HIPAA authorization. So what do each of these documents do when we've covered them in other videos But real quickly.

What is a Revocable Living Trust

 A revocable living trust is a document in which you put all of your assets in. So think of it as a bucket and you title that your house in the name of the trust. You put your cars in the name of the trust, you put your bank accounts. Anything that has a title on it, you title it in the name of your trust. Now, the advantage is, is that if you were to become incapacitated or even if you were to pass away, your successor trustee simply steps into your shoes as the successor trustee and distributes or administers your assets if you're still alive according to your wishes. And this is fantastic because it usually means that there does not have to be a guardian appointed, which means something that happens at the courthouse in order to administer your assets while you're living and it also means you probably are going to avoid probate after you pass away because again, your successor trustee is going to administer your assets according to what's in that revocable living trust.

Pour Over Will

The next thing is the pour over will. And you might think, why do I need a pour over will if I have a revocable trust? Well, sometimes people accidentally leave a bank account or they leave a house or a rental house or rental property out of the trust. So that one particular asset will need to be probated. So we need a legal document in place that says if there has to be a probate for whatever reason, I want you to put whatever asset that is into the trust so the successor trustee can administer it according to the terms of the trust.

The Power of Attorney

The power of attorney for finances is exactly what it means. It is giving somebody the authority to have control over the assets that are not in your trust. Why this is important is because sometimes we'll see people go out and buy an investment like a property or stock or something, and they forget to title it in the name of their trust. So the power of attorney, if you were to become incapacited you can make sure that that asset is transferred from your individual name to the name of the trust prior to you passing away and thus avoiding probate for that one asset. So that's very important to have that power of attorney in place, even if you have a revocable living trust.

Health Care Power of attorney

The next thing is health care power of attorney. And again, it is somebody who you trust implicitly to take care of your health care. And along with that, like I said earlier, we do your advance directive, which means if you're in a persistent vegetative state, what do you want to happen? Do you want to continue to get food, water, pain medication, artificial means of survival? You get to make all those decisions in your health care, power of attorney, advance directive and your HIPA authorization. So those are the five components of estate planning.

What is meant by estate planning? 

That is another great question because like I said in other videos, most people come into our office with a preconceived idea that estate planning is to make those decisions ahead of time for what happens after you pass away. And nothing could be further from the truth. Estate planning, proper estate planning is all about making decisions about what you want to happen during your lifetime and after your lifetime.

What if I have a Will?

That's a very, very important distinction because a lot of people leave that first part out in their estate planning. They come into our office and they say, I don't need to do anything because I already have a will and it covers everything. And then we start talking about, Well, what happens if you get in a car accident? What happens if you go to the hospital and you have a surgery and you're incapacitated for six months? What happens if this what happens of that? And people generally don't think about that because it's not something that we want to think about, right? We don't want to think about ourselves being sick and being incapacitated in the hospital or having 24 hour nursing care at our house or even being in an assisted living center.

What is proper Estate Planning? 

But that is what proper estate planning is all about, is having the documents in place so that if something were to happen to you during your lifetime, there is somebody that can step into your shoes immediately and take over for you and make sure your assets are taken care of. And more importantly, making sure that you are taken care of and making sure that the dependents who depend on you on a daily basis are also taken care of.

The five components

That's a very important if you talk to your estate planning attorney about estate planning, you need to have the five components that we talked about earlier, the revocable living trust a pour over will power of attorney, health care, power of attorney, advanced directive with the hipaa authorization in it. What are the four important estate planning factors? Well, you probably already know the answers to these, but the first one is to make an evaluation of where you are at this moment in your life. Second is talk to your spouse, to your life partner, and talk to your family about what they think you should do for your estate planning. And next, start to make a plan on what you want to happen.

Who do you want to take care of you?

 If you were to become incapacitated, who do you want to take care of you? What do you want to happen to your assets if you're incapacitated? Who do you trust to make sure that if you are incapacitated, that you will be taken care of 100%. And lastly, what do you want to happen when you do pass away? Do you want your heirs to get your assets immediately, outright, as soon as you pass away or within a month or two? Or do you want that money and those assets to be sold over a certain amount of time to be distributed to your heirs? Over a certain amount of time?

What if you have children?

You have minor children. Then you might want to make sure that that money is held in trust for whoever is taking care of your kids. Right. You have a guardian for your children, but you also have a trustee who is taking care of the money and distributing a little bit of money every month or semiannually or annually. To that guardian to care for your children. You don't want your minor children to get 100,000 $200,000 or $1,000,000 when they're 15 years old.

Different arrangements for your children

But you want that money to be used to take care of them while they're minor. And then once they become adults, maybe you want a little bit more money to go to college. And then when they turn 30, maybe a little bit more and then when they're 35, maybe then they get all their money, or maybe you wait till they're 40 again. It's up to you 100% on how those distributions are made. But it's something you need to think about ahead of time. So you avoid problems of your children getting lump sums of money when they're probably too young to have that money.

What are the main steps in estate planning? 

Well, the very first one is educate yourself on estate planning, read books. We have links to books that I recommend in the description and on our website that will really get you started on the right foot and watch videos like this one here on the different aspects of estate planning. So I would say the first thing is educate yourself on what it actually is. Again, I've talked about in other videos and in this video that people come into our office with a preconceived idea that estate planning is all about what happens after you pass away. The reality is, and just as important is what happens to you, during your lifetime if you're incapacitated or as you get older.

Meet with an Estate Planning Attorney  

So the first step is educate yourself. Next, meet with an estate planning attorney in your area or your jurisdiction. Most estate planning attorneys will meet with you at no charge just to get an idea of what your situation is. And that way they can recommend the correct vehicles to protect you now and your heirs later on and to make sure your wishes are carried out exactly the way you want them to. So that's the second step, is meet with your estate planning attorney. They will usually take a week to a couple of weeks to prepare your estate planning documents according to your wishes.

Signing documents and meetings

Then you'll have a signing where you'll actually go and sign your estate planning documents. And then after that, it's not over. After that, you need to meet with your estate planning attorney at least once a year. And if you don't meet with them, at least take your documents out and read them once a year and make sure that they still say exactly what you want them to say and your wishes are still exactly what you want.

Thinking long term

Because what you may have decided five years ago may not be what you want today. Your children may have had children. So now you have grandchildren. Maybe a child passed away. Maybe your spouse passed away. There's all kinds of things that can happen. Maybe somebody got a divorce. Maybe somebody had another baby. So these are all factors that need to go into your estate planning. So just like you meet with your financial advisor and your insurance provider at least once a year, you need to meet with your estate planning attorney at least once a year.

The steps to make your estate plan

So those are the steps. Educate yourself, meet with your estate planning attorney and revise, revise, revise to make sure it it is exactly the way you want it to be. What type of estate planning do I need? This is a really general question, and it really depends on a lot of factors. Somebody who comes into our office in their early twenties is probably going to require a different type of estate plan than somebody who comes into our office in their 5060s or seventies. Your needs are different at different ages. And that brings up an a very important point. Even if you get your estate plan when you're 20 years old, you need to review it every single year to make sure it's still up to date and your wishes are still exactly what you want them to be. Right.

Young Estate Planners

So a lot of times we see people in their twenties who are just about to get married and at that point, for whatever reason they feel, well, I don't need to get an estate plan but the second that they have a baby on the way, they are in our office and wanting to make sure that their estate planning documents are in place because they want to make certain that if something were to happen to them, that there are somebody to take care of that new baby, that new child that is coming into their life as their children get older.

Different steps to take as children grow

The strategies to protect the children are also going to change. And then when their children go off to college, they're going to have a different outlook as well on what they would want to happen in their estate plan. And then once their children graduate from college and have their own jobs, maybe at that point they don't want their kids to get a lump sum of money. Maybe they have seen the way their children have grown up into adults and they want to put in place provisions that will protect their children from creditors and maybe Son-In-Law or daughter in laws that you might think as a parent might just be out there to get your money. So there's a lot of different factors that go into place, and it really depends on what age you are and what kind of information and provisions you have in your estate plan.

The main needs for an Estate Plan

But generally you want the exact same things that you want at any age. And that's a revocable trust, a power of attorney, health care, power of attorney, a pore over will and your advance directive and HIPAA authorization.

How do you avoid probate? 

This is a great question because a lot of times people call in to our office and they say, you know, I'm just calling to make sure everything's okay. My mom or dad had a will. So I know that there does not need to be a probate, but I just had a couple of questions and my response is always, whoa, hold on. And that is because whether you have a will or don't have a will, your estate will most likely have to go through the probate process.

Will or no Will? 

If there is no will, then you look to your state, your jurisdiction, you look to your jurisdictions, laws of intestate succession on how your assets are going to be distributed. And I will tell you, in most cases, you are not going to like the way your assets will be distributed. Under your state's laws. The next way to distribute is under a will and your in your will, you can say exactly who you want to get your assets. Right. But the question is, how do you avoid probate so you can avoid probate in one of two ways.

How to avoid probate as a whole?

The first is be very very diligent and have everything that you own titled with somebody else. So like if you own your own house, you might own your house in a joint tenancy with your wife or in joint tenancy with your son or daughter and with joint tenancy means is it once you pass away or your son or daughter passes away, the house automatically goes to the surviving joint tenant. You can set up something similar in bank accounts and other types of financial accounts. Those usually have what is called beneficiary designations. And that just means once you pass away, that financial institution automatically pays out to whoever is designate it as that beneficiary. Same thing with insurance policies. You can name a beneficiary for your insurance policy. Again, once you pass away, the insurance company will pay directly to whoever that beneficiary is. So in very small estates where people have just like a house or one bank account or two bank accounts, and insurance policies, setting up your beneficiary designations and your pay on death designations, maybe all that you need to do to avoid probate. So that is one route.

A Revocable Living Trust 

 The other and the one that I like more often, as you know, is to set up a revocable living trust centered estate plan and put all of your assets into the name of your trust and have your successor trustee upon your passing distribute those assets according to the terms that you have in your revocable living trust. Can a bank release funds without probate? This is another question that we probably get ten times, maybe more on a monthly basis. That is because once somebody passes away, if you tell the bank in most cases that your relative, that your mother, father, husband, wife has passed away and they are the only person on the account the banks will usually at that point freeze the account. And that is a good thing in most cases because you don't want an unscrupulous relative or third party to come in and try to access those bank funds or somebody, a scammer to continue to take money out of that bank account. So usually what happens when somebody passes away and there's no joint tenant on there, the banks will usually freeze that bank account.

How do you get the money out of the bank account? 

It depends on how the account was set up. If there is a pay on death designation, for that particular bank, bank account, the banks and it depends on the particular bank will usually require a death certificate or some other proof of who you are and what your relationship is to the decedent and that you are actually the person listed as the pay on death designee. When that happens, once the bank is satisfied that you are the person, then they simply write a check to whoever that whether it's you or somebody else to that pay on death designee.

An additional way to access information

Another way to do it is much more expensive, and that is actually if you have to go through the probate process to access that money. So usually what happens in a probate, once somebody is appointed as the personal representative by the judge, then that person gets what's called letters of administration and they can go to the bank and access the funds on behalf of the estate. So basically they have to usually withdraw the funds and then put them in what's called an estate bank account, a bank account that's set up specifically for the estate of your loved.

Small Estate Affidavit

There's also a third way, which is called a small estate affidavit. And this really depends on your jurisdiction on whether or not this can be utilized at your particular bank, depending on the state. It could be anything less than $20,000 or anything less than $50,000. Then the bank will have you fill out what's called a small estate affidavit, which lists all of the heirs to the estate and everybody will usually have to sign under oath a sworn statement that they are actually one of the heirs and that there are no other heirs except who's listed there. They will usually require a death certificate and then the bank will usually pay out to whoever those heirs are. But again, a small estate affidavit is not able to be used in all cases. It depends on your bank, and it depends on your jurisdiction.

Do all wills have to be probated? 

This is another great question because like I mentioned earlier in another video, a lot of times people will call into our office and say, My mom or dad or my husband or wife had a will. So I don't have to go through the probate process. Well, in most jurisdictions, depending on how much money there is and depending on what there is, that is absolutely not the case. You will have to go through the probate process, especially if there is real estate involved in almost all jurisdictions. And again, it depends on your jurisdiction.

What happens if there is Real Estate involved?

If there is real estate involved, the only way to transfer title is to go through the probate process and have the probate court have the probate judge sign an order at the very end, transferring the property to whoever the heirs are of the estate. There might also be cases where your loved one didn't have anything, and that comes up a lot, too. So let's say your loved one lived in an apartment where they were paying rent. Let's say that they did not own a car and they just had a bank account with whatever their last monthly paycheck was. So maybe they have a couple of thousand dollars in their bank account. They rent where they are living and they don't have a car. And that is it. They don't have any other assets. Well, in that case, it really doesn't matter whether there was a will or no will, because there really is nothing to actually probate.

In what cases do you not have to probate an estate?

You don't necessarily have to probate an estate. Many times people will come into our office and they will just because they hear it on TV or have read it someplace immediately think that they need to probate their loved ones estate. And if their loved one did not have any assets that actually need to be transferred from that loved one's name, to the beneficiaries or the heirs, then there really is no need for a probate. If your loved one didn't have anything, then there's nothing to transfer. So a probate is not necessary.

Does A will have to be notarized?

Wow, that's a great question. And really, it just depends on the jurisdiction that you're living with because all states have different laws regarding what is a valid last will and testament. Now, there are some general common law, what they call them, rules that outline what kind of a the baseline for a last will and testament. But if you're going to have a last will and testament and you're going to have witnesses involved, then in most cases you are going to be required to have a notary public there to identify who the witnesses are. Make sure that everybody actually has capacity, that you have the person signing, the last will has capacity, and that the two people who are going to be the witnesses actually have capacity and can be identified if a will is ever contested, then you want to be able to go back and find those witnesses, find that notary, and have them be able to testify under oath in court that they were actually there and that the person signing had capacity that all the witnesses had a capacity, and the notary would testify to the same. And notary would also testify that they actually saw their driver's license and actually legally identify the witnesses and the person signing as all the proper actual parties. So I would say in most cases it is a very good idea to have a notary.

If you go to an Estate Planning attorney to prepare a will?

And if you go to an estate planning attorney and have them prepare your last will and testament, they will make sure that all the requirements in your particular jurisdiction are followed so that if somebody tries to contest it later on, you will be able to identify who all the proper parties are and have a notary that will be able to say, yes, I was there. I identified each individual person and they were who they said they were. Now, if you do a holographic will, which is a handwritten will, then a notary is usually not involved, a loved one is actually handwriting it, and then they're signing it at the bottom. And in that case, you usually just want the person that's doing it to sign it and that's it. But again, it depends on your juristic so check with the laws and the regulations and check with an estate planning attorney in your jurisdiction to make sure that your last will and testament is done correctly. We have had last will and testament thrown out when somebody has only been able to produce a copy and not the original will. It's very important to have all your I's dotted and your t's crossed so check with an estate planning attorney.

How many copies of A will should be signed? 

One In most jurisdictions, you only sign one original last will and testament. If you go to an estate planning attorney, they will usually also provide you with a copy called a conformed copy. A conformed copy is an exact replica of the last will and testament, but it does not have the signatures of everybody that signed on that particular day. So if you were to sign your last will and testament, they would give you a conformed copy and there would be a blank where your signature is supposed to be, but your name would be under there as the person signing the last will and testament. And then it would also identify with blank spaces, who the witnesses are and also who your notary public is. That's called a conformed copy. Now the reality is most law firms will give you your original last will and testament with the wet signatures is what we call them the original. They will give you a conformed copy and then they will also give you photocopies of the original and usually a digital copy as well.

What will the court want to see?

But the one that the court is going to want to see in most jurisdictions, the one that they can actually probate is going to be that original last will and testament. In most jurisdictions. When you go to probate, that last will and testament, you actually have to submit to the court, to the court clerk so that they can put in the probate file the original last will and testament. If it is a copy of a last will and testament, then that is grounds to contest it because we don't know whether or not that copy was actually doctored. We need the original last will and testament in most jurisdictions to probate an estate.

Does a handwritten will hold up in court? 

Yes, this is what's called a holographic will and a holographic will is a will that the person does in their own handwriting and then signs it and dates it at the bottom or dates it at the top and signs at the bottom, whichever they do. A handwritten will must absolutely be in the person's handwriting. A handwritten will cannot be handwritten out by somebody else and then signed by the decedent or your loved one. And I'm sure you can see why, because if somebody is on their deathbed, you don't want a third party you don't want an unscrupulous relative to go in there and handwrite a will that gives them the entire estate and then they have person who's dying. They have them sign their signature at the bottom. You can see all the things that are wrong with that. First, it's a bad actor, right? A bad relative has come in. They have given themselves everything and they have probably forced or unbeknownst to the person who's dying, had them sign something that they clearly were not able to read or that they maybe didn't even know about. If you're going to use a handwritten or a holographic will, it has to be in the handwriting of the person who is dying. And it actually has to be signed and dated by that person. And there are different rules depending on where your jurisdiction is. But it's really important to know that a handwritten last will and testament is actually a very powerful document as long as it is executed correctly in the person's own handwriting, dated and signed. Like I said, that does not mean that somebody else can handwrite it. It also does not mean that somebody else can type it up and then have the person sign it. It must absolutely be 100% in their own handwriting if it is a typed up document, then you have to look to your particular jurisdiction in your state or whatever jurisdiction you're in to the rules on typed last will and testament. And that is a completely different animal and usually requires witnesses and notary publics to be there and independent witnesses.

Can a handwritten last will and testament hold up in court? 

The answer is yes, as long as it's done correctly, as long as there is no undue influence, and as long as there is no fraud. As always, check with your jurisdiction and an estate planning attorney near you to make sure that holographic or handwritten will is done correctly.

 Can a family member be a witness to a will?

 Again, this is another great question. Because a lot of times when somebody is dying, the family will get together and they will put together a last will and testament, and they know they need witnesses and they'll just grab a son or daughter or a son in law or a daughter in law or a cousin to come in and be a witness. And it really depends on your jurisdiction. But I think you can probably see what can go wrong with this, because if it is a family member who's putting together this last will and testament, in other words, it's not the person who is dying who's actually deciding where everything is going. The particular family member just I'm just going to make sure that everybody gets what I think that they should get and what I think is fair not what the person who's dying thinks is fair. Right. I think you can see where this would open it up for a lot of fraud and unscrupulous and bad actors to come into place. So where we have seen this happen sometimes is where a son or daughter thinks that they're the ones because they've taken care of mom or dad for the last five years. They think that everything should go to them when there in reality, there still two or three other siblings or maybe four siblings, and the estate should actually be split up for different ways.

Fraud

So that son or daughter who's been taking care of them writes up a last will and testament really quickly and says, Mom, Dad, this is what you wanted, right? You want to be to have everything right and then they have their spouse or somebody else come in as a witness. So it's just a bad idea. It depends on your jurisdiction where whether or not a family member can legally be a witness to your last will and testament. I will tell you that I would not recommend it at all.

Uninvolved parties

I would make sure you have independent witnesses. You have an independent notary come in and you make sure that whoever is administering the signing of the last will and Testament ask questions of everybody, including the person that is dying.

What to consider

I would actually have them read it to them and say, Is this actually what you want to happen? Do you really want all of your estate to go to this particular child when you have four other children? And you might even film that to make certain that there is a record of exactly what went down? The reality is it just depends on your jurisdiction whether or not a family member can be a witness. But I don't think it passes the icky test. And I think if a family member is signing as a witness, there automatically is a red flag that some type of potential fraud or undue duress happened. So if you can avoid it, go to an estate planning attorney, even if your relative is on their deathbed and have them privately interview your relative and have the estate planning attorney draft a document that is exactly what your dying relative wants and not what you think that they want. That's a very important distinction.

Can the executor of a will be a beneficiary? 

Absolutely. And we see it all the time. Mom or dad comes into our office to set up their last will and testament. And they have three kids. Two of them are horrible with money. And there is no way in the world that that mom is going to put their son or daughter in charge of their estate during the probate process. But maybe there is one particular son or daughter who is really good with money or has a really good head on them, and they trust them implicitly to follow the directions in their last will and testament. And in that last will and testament, it says, you son or daughter are my executor.

What does it look like to be the Personal Representative?

You're my personal representative in the probate process. After I pass away and I want you to pay all my debts, gather all the assets up, and then I want you to split my estate three ways between yourself and your two siblings. So absolutely, a family member who is a beneficiary he can also be the executor or the personal representative of your estate. Again, it depends on your jurisdiction, but most states and most jurisdictions allow a beneficiary to also be the executor or personal representative of your estate as the executor or the personal representative. They have certain fiduciary duties to the court and to the estate and to the other heirs to make sure that everything is done absolutely correctly and in almost all jurisdictions, there are requirements in place that will require whoever the executor is, even if they're a beneficiary, to let everybody know the court know, the heirs know exactly what is coming into the estate and what is going out of the estate. And if they don't do that correctly, the personal representative or the executor could be personally liable for whatever they took fraudulently or did incorrectly. So it's very important to pick somebody in that position that you implicitly trust to be your executor or personal representative. They mean the same thing. Make sure you implicitly trust them to carry out those duties.

With the probate attorney's help

And if they have a probate attorney helping them, the probate attorney will usually guide them through the process and make sure that everything is done correctly aboveboard and legally so that the other heirs are comfortable with that particular beneficiary. Also being the executor of the estate.

Is it better to have one or two executors? 

This is an issue that I really, really try to persuade my clients to only pick one person to be the executor or personal representative. They mean the same thing depending on your jurisdiction. To only pick one person to be in charge, to be your executor. The reason why people usually want two executors is because they don't want to hurt their children's feelings. They feel like if they have, let's say, just two kids, that if they pick one of them to be the executor, then the other one's feelings are going to be really hurt. I tell my clients when they make decisions like this, when they're having to pick people for these important roles, do not worry about their feelings. You have to pick somebody who you trust implicitly to carry out the duties, to be the executor or to have the fiduciary duty to harness your assets to pay your debts, and then to distribute your assets according to the terms of your last will and testament or your trust, and to do everything correctly when you have two people in anything, you now have two opinions on how things should get done.

What are the problems associated with two executors?

So if one of them wants to sell the house and the other one doesn't, we have a problem. If one of them wants to sell the personal property and the other one doesn't, we have a problem if one of them wants to wait to finish the probate and the other one doesn't, we have a problem. You can see where I'm going with this any time. There's two people in that important position as executor, you're going to have problems. We always try to dissuade our clients from appointing two people to be co executors of their estate because it's just going to create a lot of problems afterwards. If somebody comes into our office with a last will and testament that appoints two people to be the executors or the personal representatives, then we really have a heart to heart conversation with them and tell them that it really is probably better for everybody if just one of them serves as the executor of the estate, because it'll just alleviate a lot of problems. In fact, a lot of times what we do when there's two people, we will actually asked them to maybe appoint a third independent party to serve in that role and have the two people who are supposed to be who the who, the mom or dad wanted to be the executor. We have them sign waivers that they are okay with a third party serving in that role. And that just alleviates a lot of problems. It alleviates the need for two signatures for everything. It alleviates the need for two people to show up at every hearing. It just simplifies things tremendously when you only have one executor.

It is not about feelings

So when you pick somebody to be your executor or your personal representative, don't worry about hurting feelings, worry about who is going to get the job done. And if it's not your two kids or three kids, if it's not any of them, then pick a third party. Your estate planning attorney can help you pick somebody who you trust implicitly. And who's going to do the job correctly and not be swayed by feelings or have two competing opinions on how to proceed with the probate. Because when that happens, it's going to lengthen the time of the probate, which means it's going to cost your estate a lot more money, only pick one executor for your estate.

What happens if executors disagree? 

If executors disagree, it is going to cost your estate a lot of extra money. That's the bottom line. It's going to take a lot longer to get things done, and it's going to create a lot more attorney fees and cost with getting the probate completed. Like I said in the last video, if you can only pick one executor over your estate, if the executors cannot agree on what happens and the court has to get involved, then that usually means that there is going to have to be another law firm involved. There's going to have to be hearings and possibly trials, actual full blown trials with a jury, sometimes without a jury. It depends on the jurisdiction, but a full blown trial to decide which executors wishes to follow. If executors don't agree. Like I said, it's going to create a lot of trouble for the estate and a lot more money. And in a lot of instances, the law firms that are involved end up making a lot more money than the executors actually receive as part of the estate. Bottom line is, if you have to pick an executor please just pick one. Don't create a situation where you are going to have two executors with full authority who are going to be fighting over how to administer your estate, pick somebody that you trust implicitly, pick one person and hopefully your estate will get administered quickly and with the least amount of cost.

Who should be executors of your will? 

Somebody that you absolutely 100% trust implicitly it has to be somebody who, you know, will carry out your wishes to the T and will not be swayed by family members who want this or that. Outside of what you have put in your written last will and testament, your executor has to be somebody who is strong and can get the job done. I always tell people and we've talked about it in this video and other videos, do not worry about hurting the feelings of your children or other relatives if your children and relatives are horrible with money and are not able to, in your opinion, properly administer your estate because they're going to be swayed or whatever the reason is or they're lazy, that could be one reason too then don't pick them.

What does it look like to have a third party involved?

You need to pick somebody who you trust implicitly, and that might be a third party. So we have actually had people hire third parties to be their executor I should warn you, that's going to cost your estate usually a pretty penny because they don't work for free, right? They usually work on an hourly basis and it's usually not inexpensive. It's usually a pretty expensive. But if you don't have somebody or you don't trust your kids in that position, then it may actually be worth money and you may actually save money by paying a professional to be your third party executor of your estate. The other less expensive way to do it is maybe you have another relative, a cousin or an uncle or somebody, you know, a third party who's not going to get anything as part of the estate, but just a kind of third party, independent relative who you know and trust will administer your estate according to the terms that you have there and will not listen to your son or daughter, whoever your beneficiaries are. In other words, they won't be swayed. They'll carry out your wishes and make sure that your estate is administered exactly how you want it to be administered. Bottom line, you're executor should be somebody who you trust implicitly. And do not worry about hurting feelings when picking the correct person to be your executor.

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Cortes Law Firm

5801 Broadway Extension Hwy Suite 110

Oklahoma City, OK, 73118

405-213-0856


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