Oklahoma Estate Planning

This category contains posts on trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, living wills and other issues related to estate planning.

When you hear the phrase “estate planning” what comes to your mind?

When I asked the question on Linkedin a few weeks ago “What are the most important one or two qualities for which you look when hiring an attorney?” the response and thoughtful comments were wonderful.  It was so good and helpful I am trying it again.  
This time however the response field is expanded to both Linkedin where I asked the question or simply in the comments below.  Ready?  Here is the question:

When you hear the phrase “estate planning” what comes to your mind?

I am not crazy about the phrase “estate planning”, it is so stiff and formal, but its out there.  Please let me know your thoughts either on Linkedin (login required) or in the comments below this post.  Thank you!

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Estate Planning

5 considerations in naming your children’s Oklahoma guardian

Last week in FreeStyleFriday I reviewed the process of naming a guardian for your minor children.  This week I cover the important considerations in determining the guardians:

 

1.  The stage in life of the proposed guardian(s).  Are the people at a place in their life or will they be in place where they want to have children?  People who are finishing raising their children and moving on to another stage in life may not want to take on children.

2. The resources of the proposed guardians(s).  Raising and supporting children can be expensive.  When thinking about guardians consider whether the people

who would be guardians generally have the resources to care for additional children.  This is an area where life insurance (on the lives of the parents) can be helpful.

3.  The religious beliefs of the proposed guardian(s).  The guardians could end raising your children having a profound impact on their development both physical and spiritual.  If it is important to you to have your children raised in the faith which you believe, this is something to consider.

4.  Special needs.  Do any of your children have special needs?  If so, are the proposed guardians prepared to meet those needs and care for the children in the way that is necessary?

5.  Legal qualification.  These requirements are usually minimal (e.g., not a convicted felon, non-US citizen etc. . .) but something to consider as a threshold requirement.

 

The place to name an Oklahoma guardian is usually your last will and testament.  If you want to know more about making an Oklahoma will consider this post.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Estate Planning

The process of naming a guardian for your children

While it is not the most exciting part of the estate planning process, nominating the people you want to be guardian of your children obviously has a huge impact.  When parents pass away, the guardianship of minor children is established by a court.  The court either follows a statute which lists relatives who are entitled to be named guardians or, looks to your nomination.  If the court has consider people named in a statute, there is more potential for conflict over who is named guardian.

Conversley, nomination is important because unless there are specific facts that make the people you nominate unfit, the Court usually appoints the people who are nominated.  You “nominate” people by simply naming them in a Will or Trust.  In the process of addressing many other estate planning issues, people can cover the issue of guardianship.

Next week, I will discuss the factors to consider in determining who your guardian(s) should be.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Estate Planning

How does a power of attorney help protect my family?

A power of attorney is your act of giving another person (usually your spouse or other family member) the authority to handle your affairs, when you are not able to do it.  The power of attorney usually allows the person you choose to make business, personal and financial decisions for you.  The person you choose only acts for you after a doctor (or two in some cases) finds you incapacitated.

The power of attorney usually saves your family from going to a court and asking that a guardian be appointed for you.  Without a power of attorney or a guardian, you usaully will not be able to act on behalf of your incapcitated family member, even if that person is your spouse.  

The “durable” part of the power of means that the power of attorney is effective when signed, becomes active upon a person’s disability and continues until revoked.

The power of attorney is another item that a person can put in place to help things run smoothly for their family when illness or disability come.  If you have questions about this device or anything else, please feel to contact me.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Estate Planning

You have an Oklahoma estate plan, whether you created it or not . . .

Whether you have created a will, trust, or even thought about creating one, there are plans for about what happens to your property when you die.  An estate plan is the way to set out the who, what, when, where, and how:

• Your property will be transferred upon your death;

• The recipients of your property and in what amounts;

• The administrator of your estate and the division of your personal property;

• The person or persons who will be the guardians of your minor children, and what type of resources the guardians will have;

• Your caretaker if you become incapacitated and a power of attorney granting the authority to handle your affairs.

From where does this sophisticated Oklahoma estate plan come?  The statutes of the State of Oklahoma (or the state in which you live if not Oklahoma) provide it.  Within the thousands of words contained in the Oklahoma Statutes (whatever state in which you reside), all the decisions are made about what you have, what happens to it, and who takes care of you and your children upon your death.  These laws set a rigid formula and make no exceptions for unusual or special needs.  Without a will or trust in place, your estate will be administered by the court, according to these statutes.  If this happens, the cost to your estate could be greater than if you have an estate plan.

Does this sound good? If not, there is an alternative: plan your own estate, determine who takes care of your family and who takes care of you, yourself. Talk to an attorney to find out how to plan your own estate (whether it is small, medium, or large), and to draft documents that fit you and you and your family’s unique needs – not the convenient one size fits all solution provided by the statutes.  In the process, you are taking care of your family the way you know is best.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if would like to discuss planning your estate.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Estate Planning