Why privacy is a highly underrated feature of an Oklahoma living trust


There are so many ways people get into our business.  One of the areas where people least want other people to invade their privacy is in their estate planning.  This post discusses how an Oklahoma living (sometimes called “revocable”) trust offers a high level of privacy over ways to plan your estate.

One of the most underrated benefits of a living trust is privacy. Typically, doing Oklahoma estate planning with a living trust is associated with avoiding probate, saving on taxes, organizing your estate, and providing protection for the people you pass your estate to. But it is privacy which rarely gets attention that provides some excellent benefits.

How is privacy part of the trust process? To understand this you must understand what happens if a person dies with no living trust. If a person passes away owning real property, investment accounts, or mineral interest usually that person’s errors must file a probate proceeding to access the property.

Oklahoma probate is a public process. You file a lawsuit in the County Court in which the deceased person lived and all of the documents filed in the lawsuit are publicly available. Not only are the documents publicly available, but with current technology, most of the documents can be accessed from any Internet-enabled computer. That means anyone can view the documents that are part of the probate case including the last will and testament which often contains personal details and other private family matters.

You avoid probate by ensuring that all of your property is held by a living trust. If the property is held by the trust, there is no need to have a probate proceeding when someone passes away because the owner remains the same: the living trust. Your heirs have immediate and continuous access to all the property and no reason to make all of the details of the family public in an Oklahoma probate case. The process of administering a living trust is private nothing needs to be filed publicly like with a probate.

Matters that were intended to be private continue to stay private.

If you enjoyed this post, here are a few other posts you may find useful:

When is a revocable trust better than a Will?

When do I need to have a Will?

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Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."