The more clients and friends that we talk to, the more we see why so many people put off writing their will. No one especially wants to think about their own future death, and no one really wants to plan for it. In reality, however, everyone needs to have a will prepared, even at a young age. There are a multitude of reasons to consider, and any reputable wills and trusts lawyer should be able to go through the factors with you to make certain that you are protecting your assets as well as the people you love.
First off, it’s obvious people do not want to think about death. However, the reality is that it is inevitable. This does not only include your death, but your family members, such as your grandmother, daughter, son, and parents. If you, or your (especially older) family members have not prepared a will, then you are jeopardizing both your own wishes and the outcome for those you love. This could be especially important for parents.
If you haven’t had a will prepared, then your children’s future can be in serious jeopardy. For example, many assume that their property will pass automatically to their children, but the Oklahoma courts may have other ideas. Other family members, like a new spouse or a child you gave for adoption, may go to the courts and inherit money and heirlooms that you intended for your children.
The most extreme and important factor to consider will likely be that of child guardianship. If you have children, or intend to have children, a will allows you to ensure that your children are raised by people you trust and in a way you deem appropriate. A will allows you to specify their guardians, should you die. Without a will, the courts will decide who will take control of your children should you pass away, and who wants a court to decide the future of their children’s care?
Sadly, another case where a will is needed is when both spouses being killed at the same time. In a circumstance like that, there is no surviving spouse to take care of the children, explain what should happen to them, nor have a say in the distribution of assets. As expected, the courts will have more of a say in the distribution of your estate than you would probably want.
Creating a will doesn’t have to be a exasperating, complicated activity. A will is not generally very expensive, and a trustworthy wills and trust lawyer can tell you your exact benefits in creating a will. Skillern Law Firm can help you create your will, and any other estate planning document you may need to ensure your family and assets are safe from court interference. Undoubtedly, it is not ideal to spend your time imagining what would happen to your family and assets after you have passed away, however, doing so now can make an incredible difference later.
If you are interested in other estate planning documents, or how they can help you, read other posts on Tulsa Estate Planning Blog.
A few years ago, my mother sent me the Jessica’s morning affirmation video. I haven’t woken up every morning with Jessica’s joie de vivre, this morning I did. My whole house is great. I can do anything good. I realized that I can really make a difference for same-sex couples with estate planning. I’m not as sure about my hairs or haircuts, but that’s a moot point.
The actual point: estate planning can solve many problems that the law creates for same-sex couples living in states that do notrecognize same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couples are not able to benefit from inheritance laws that enable spouses to take property under homestead laws. Oklahoma intestacy laws would not allow for a same-sex spouses to inherit anything. Therefore it is much more imperative for same-sex couples to invest in estate planning than hetero couples.
Both wills and trusts can establish inheritance for same-sex couples. Trusts offer basically the same inheritance options that wills do (please see our previous post), with the added benefit of privacy. Wills are open to the public when they are entered into the probate court after death, but trusts are only public in so much as that one has been created.
Same-sex families that adopt face unique child custody issues facing the death of one parent. Oklahoma laws allow only one parent of same-sex couples to be the adoptive parent. Parental rights follow this parent. If that parent passes away, then the other parent has no legal parental rights over the child. A will or trust can remedy the situation by specifying who will raise the child after death.
This is not to say that estate planning is a substitute for marriage. I in no way want to insinuate that signing a trust document provides the same joy that saying I do ever will. However, this is an option that Oklahoma provides that same-sex couples should take advantage of today. Skillern Law Firm can set up a trust for you and your spouse to help you with your estate planning needs.
Check out other posts at Tulsa Estate Planning Blog.
Welcome to Tulsa Estate Planning Blog, created by the offices of the Skillern Law Firm, PLLC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you’ve read our profile over there on the right, then you already know a little about us and a little about what we want this blog to be about.
Penni Skillern, Esq. has had a passion for helping Tulsans with their estate planning needs for a very long time. The ofices of Skillern Law Firm concentrates on the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning, business law, and probate law. We feel confident that we can translate some of our knowledge, and what we learn on the way while we are practicing, onto the blog. We hope this blog helps you in your questions about wills, trusts, real estate law, and business associations formation, as well as just give you general knowledge about some other types of laws we find interesting, but don’t necessarily practice in.
Please feel free to call the offices of Skillern Law Firm for any and all of your estate planning and business incorporation needs.