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Who gets my stuff without an estate plan and why you won't like the answer

So, in my last video I talked about what could happen if you don't have a plan in place for incapacity, and how guardianship can get to be very expensive, and be very emotional on your family and your friends. In this video, we're gonna talk about, well I guess another horror story, about what can happen if you don't have a plan in place for who gets your stuff, your assets, your house, your car, the money in the bank, if you don't have a plan in place.

Remember, we're all entrepreneurs of our own life, and part of that means that our entire life, we have done a lot of work to accumulate assets like your house, your car, your bank account, your retirement accounts. Maybe you have certificate deposits, maybe you have bonds. There's all kinds of things. Here in Oklahoma, we also have a lot of people who have mineral interests.

If you have spent your entire lifetime, or even if you're midway or just starting out in your lifetime, you really need to have a plan in place for who gets your assets if something were to happen to you. Now, I have heard clients tell me before, I don't care who gets my stuff, I'm gonna be dead anyway. Well, I guess that's an answer, and if you're okay with that, then okay.

But, I don't think that is really what people mean. I think a lot of times, people are just a little scared about the estate planning process. If you watched our last few videos on the estate planning questionnaire, you'll see that it really isn't that scary, and we really outline it for you in that estate planning questionnaire, step by step of the things that you need to think about. So, if you haven't looked at it yet, I'll have a link below in the description, and a comment section below for you to download our estate planning questionnaire.

The same one that I use everyday with my own clients. Let's get back to what can happen if you don't have a plan in place for what happens to your stuff. I'm gonna talk generally, and also a little bit about Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, if you don't have any relatives at all, and you have no plan in place at all, then eventually your assets could end up with the School Lands Commission.

In other words, all of that stuff that you've worked at, worked hard to accumulate your entire life, goes to the state of Oklahoma. Is that really what you want? But I would guess for most of you, the answer is no. That's what happens if you don't have any relatives, and unfortunately, that's happening more and more as the Baby Boomer population continues to grow. And some of them actually just never got married, and don't have kids. And so, there's nobody to give their stuff to.

Most states, like the state of Oklahoma, have really a statutory plan in place if you are to pass away with relatives. And, you can check out that section. I believe it's title 58, section 213, that outlines what happens if you were to pass away with relatives. What happens if you have a spouse and kids that you had with that spouse? What happens if you have a spouse and have step kids? What happens if you don't have a spouse at all, but just have kids?

So it goes into pretty good detail about what happens to your assets if you pass away without a plan in place, telling the court and the world what you want to happen with your assets. Like I just said we are seeing more and more of the Baby Boomer population pass away without ever having gotten married, or they got a divorce, but they never had kids. So there's nobody to get their stuff. So I could go into great detail about the degrees of heirship. So, for example, if you pass away without any kids, but your parents are still alive, then your parents could take. If your parents are not alive, but you had brothers and sisters, then your brothers and sisters could take along the same line as you. If you didn't have brothers and sisters, but you had aunts and uncles, and your parents, so if your parents have passed away, and you didn't have any brothers and sisters, then we'd look to aunts and uncles. And if your aunts and uncles had passed away, then we'd look to see if they had any kids. You see where I'm going?

It can get confusing very quickly. And I'll tell you what, guys. I have seen this happen, gosh, five times in the last two years. Where somebody has passed away, with nobody to get their stuff. No like immediate relatives. And we've had to go out and literally search for relatives. In a couple of particular cases, we actually had to hire an investigator to go out and find relatives for the estates. And as you can imagine, this can get very expensive when we have to start paying people to look for your relatives. And, we've had to look for their heirs. And like I just said, this can get really expensive, and it can be also time consuming, because we have to do our due diligence in looking for who is supposed to get this money, who is supposed to get their assets.

What I think is sad, which can happen and happened in some of those cases, is relatives will inherit who you had never even met. So it's a really nice surprise to be able to tell long lost relatives that they're gonna inherit $100,000, or $200,000, or $50,000, or $10,000, whatever the amount is. That's a lot of fun to do. However, and unfortunately, more often than not what happens is these relatives are not very grateful with what they're about to receive. I don't know what happens.

I've said it in other videos. Money changes everybody. So I don't know what happens when all of a sudden you wave dollar signs in front of people. But a lot of times, their attitude changes. And for some reason, somebody who's just like super nice in their day to day life becomes very ungrateful. It's just a weird transition that people go through when they find out that they're gonna inherit money, or that they're due money.

If there is a particular relative in your life who you don't want to get your stuff, but you don't have a plan in place, then you really need to look at your estate plan, and talk to an estate planning attorney like us, or somebody in your neighborhood. And find out exactly what would happen if you were to pass away right now, without an estate plan. And if that relative who you're really not very fond of is in line to get all of your stuff, then you may want to have an estate plan in place, written specifically to see who gets your stuff. You may want to give it to a charity. You may want it to go to some building fund, or for a school, or whatever it is. But the bottom line is that it's your choice to decide what happens to your money. And if you don't make that choice, then the state you live in, in our case the state of Oklahoma is gonna decide. And, some relative that you really don't like could end up getting all of your stuff.

So, when people say, I don't care what happens to me after I pass away, that's fine. But at least know what the consequences are if you don't have a plan in place. That people that you may not like will get your stuff, or people that you've never even met, that you had no clue even existed, might get your stuff. Remember, the bottom line in an estate plan is it's up to you.

So if you missed our other videos on our estate planning questionnaire, or the last ones on guardianship, then watch it right after this video. And click the link below to get a copy of our estate planning questionnaire that we have bene discussing in the last several videos, and that I use everyday in our practice. Also, check out this video up here, and this one up here, to up your estate planning game. And, if you like this video, hit the Like button, and be sure to smash that subscribe button, and share it with your friends. I would really appreciate it. Have a great day, and as always, have an awesome week. Thanks for watching, we'll see you next time.

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About the author 

Cortes Law Firm

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