No one wants to think about dying or becoming disabled. Even the topic of aging can be difficult for many Americans to accept, let alone discuss. But the possibility that we may one day rely on others for our care, whether physically, financially, or both, is a topic that requires greater consideration. And the fact that we will one day die, is just that—a fact. By planning for the inevitable, you can take charge of your financial future and the legacy you will leave for future generations.
Clients frequently believe that preparing a Last Will & Testament is synonymous with creating an estate plan. But a will is just one piece of the puzzle. An estate plan is a comprehensive set of documents to assist you with current and future financial needs while you are living, as well as a second set of documents intended to transfer ownership of your assets after you pass away.
At Family Legacy Wealth Counsel, our experienced estate planning legal team has helped countless individuals, families, and business owners protect and preserve their estates and ensure that they are properly cared for in the event of disability. Nobody wants to talk about these highly-emotional topics, but everyone should; nothing beats the peace of mind an estate plan can bring. If you have questions about how a comprehensive estate plan can benefit you, contact Family Legacy Wealth Counsel today at 918-986-8525.
Imagine being unable to care for yourself due to a physical or mental disability. Who would make financial decisions on your behalf? Who would help you with daily tasks, and who would make healthcare decisions for you, if you are unable to do so on your own? These and similar questions are both asked and addressed in a comprehensive estate plan, along with other financial matters that don’t involve physical or mental incapacity, such as avoiding certain tax implications through the use of trusts and other financial planning vehicles.
Whether you pass away with modest assets or a substantial estate valued in the millions, you will want to ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes. Who will be in charge of overseeing the distribution of assets and payment of debts upon your passing? How can you avoid probate and protect certain assets from creditors?
Documents in an Estate Plan
Using answers to the above questions and many others, we can create a plan that aligns with your unique goals and objectives. Typically, a comprehensive estate plan is composed of these primary documents:
- Last Will and Testament
- Revocable Living Trust
- Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs
- Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Affairs
- Advanced Directive and Living Will
- HIPAA Release
It’s important to note that trusts are not only for the wealthy. This is a common misconception. In reality, the majority of estate plans actually include a Revocable Living Trust because this planning vehicle offers significant advantages over using a Last Will & Testament alone.
A trust provides privacy during your life and after your passing, greater control over gifts, and it may allow your estate to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of probate and reduce or eliminate certain taxes. An experienced Oklahoma estate planning attorney can help you navigate the planning process and determine the best strategy for your unique needs and goals.
Who Should Have an Estate Plan?
When it comes to financial planning, the term estate does not refer to mansions and substantial wealth. An estate is the general term given to all property owned by a person. This can include vehicles, real estate, cash, and other assets such as jewelry, art, antiques, or any other property with some monetary value. If you have a home worth $80,000 and a car worth $10,000, you have an estate.
Anyone with loved ones and property they want to transfer to those loved ones upon death should consider an estate plan. This set of comprehensive legal documents will help to ensure that your wishes are met when you pass away, as well as if you become unable to make decisions for yourself while still alive.
Why You Should Have an Estate Plan in Oklahoma
While a will is often an important part of the estate planning process, it is rarely enough on its own. Other estate planning tools, such as the revocable living trust, can help you retain control over your assets, maintain privacy of those assets, and avoid the time-consuming, non-private, and costly probate process. Lastly, since Oklahoma has no estate tax, assets placed in a trust are protected from excessive taxation. A skilled estate planning lawyer will ensure that you fully understand your options before moving forward with any planning strategy.
Our Estate Planning Services
At Family Legacy Wealth Counsel, our Oklahoma estate planning lawyers will swiftly and thoroughly review your estate and current financial situation, identify beneficiaries and potential issues, and help you design a comprehensive plan that aligns with your needs and goals. Our estate planning services commonly include the following legal documents and tools:
- Last Will & Testament—This is a legal document that outlines your last wishes and how any assets should be distributed. Although important, a last will & testament is limited in its estate planning capacity.
- Living Will—Also known as an Advanced Directive for Health Care, a living will is a legal document that details your wishes regarding healthcare decisions in the event that you become incapacitated.
- Power of Attorney—This is a legal mechanism by which you appoint another person to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.
- Trust—Although there are many types of trusts, they all act as a fiduciary arrangement wherein the trustee holds assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. You can be the trustee of your own trust and manage the assets while you are alive. After your death, those same assets can be transferred to your named beneficiaries.
A carefully thought-out estate plan does more than just provide security for the future; it provides peace of mind for you and your family right now.
Updating an Existing Estate Plan
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea for any adult to have an estate plan. And creating an estate plan is not a once-and-done event. Life changes over the years, and so should your estate plan. It is common for major life events such as cohabitation, marriage, the birth of a child or grandchild, divorce, becoming a caretaker to an ailing parent, and/or a change in occupation to trigger the need for an update to your estate plan. This is especially true for individuals who marry and have children from prior relationships.
Contact Family Legacy Wealth Counsel Today
If you would like to create an estate plan to preserve and protect your wealth, and to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled in the event you become disabled, the skilled legal team at Family Legacy Wealth Counsel can help. We work with clients of all financial means and from all walks of life, and our practice concentrates in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, and business and employment law. Do not attempt to make these important decisions without the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer by your side. Contact Family Legacy Wealth Counsel Today at 918-986-8525 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.