Estate Planning Resources

If you are interested in an evaluation of your particular estate planning needs, you may download our Estate Planning Worksheet, which provides the Firm with the information needed to accurately evaluate your needs. You may contact our office to set up your estate plan consultation. All information you provide is confidential and will only be used for your estate planning consultation.

Do I need an estate plan?

Whether your net worth is $10,000 or $10,000,000, you need an estate plan. Having a properly-funded trust will help you avoid the probate process. The average cost to probate a will is 5% of the estate, and the average time for the process is six months to two years. A trust may help you avoid paying estate and gift taxes by maximizing your exemptions.

But estate planning isn't just about money; it's also about your loved ones. Physically and mentally disabling diseases attack the rich and poor indiscriminately. Dealing with your illness or injury can be overwhelming for your loved ones when important medical and financial decisions have not been made ahead of time. You can alleviate the stress of making end-of-life decisions with an advance directive. A general power of attorney appoints a trusted friend or family member with the necessary financial authority to handle your affairs when needed.  

Do I need a will or a trust?

A Trust Agreement directs the distribution of all assets held in the Trust. The Trust Agreement appoints a Trustee, who is in charge of the carrying out the terms of the Trust and takes control of the assets upon your death or incapacity, whichever comes first. If all of your assets are titled in the name of a Trust, then probate is avoided. This means less time required for distribution, less expense, and your Trust remains out of the public record. Establishing a Trust will have greater initial expense, but the savings at your death far outweigh the initial costs.

A Will directs the distribution of your assets and appoints your personal representative to oversee the distribution process. Upon your death, your Will must be probated, which includes notifying heirs and creditors, publishing notice in a local newspaper and having a judge supervise the entire process. Your Will also becomes public record, so anyone can read it. The entire probate process typically takes six months and can be very expensive.

For More Information

If you would like more information, the Oklahoma Bar Association has prepared the following documents answering frequently asked questions on estate planning topics:

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