When you are doing estate planning, the most important decision you will make is whether you need a Will or a Trust. Both avenues allow you to take care of your surviving family members and determine how your assets are distributed. However, a trust instrument may give you more options than you usually have with a will. This article outlines the features of a Trust and how it differs from a Will under Oklahoma law.
A Trust will allow you to avoid the probate process. With a Will, your property must pass through a probate proceeding. When you place real property into a Trust before you die, the Trust becomes the legal owner of the real property. Nothing changes when you die; the trust continues to hold title to the property, and no probate is required to transfer any property. This saves your family on fees and costs.
Immediate Access to Assets
When you die with a Will, no property can be transferred to your heirs until it goes through probate. If assets are placed in a revocable trust, those assets are available to your family after your death. The family can then access the property immediately, using it to pay taxes, expenses, and debts without waiting for the probate court's approval.
Providing for Special Needs Children
If you have a child, grandchild, or dependent with special needs, a Trust can be created to provide for that person throughout their lives.
Unlike the probate process, which is inherently a public proceeding, a Trust is a private matter. Probate proceedings are public records. If you own real property, mineral rights, or investment accounts, there will be a case filed with the County Court during the probate process, and the documents associated with the case may be available online. Trusts are not public records, so details about your personal affairs will be shielded from public view.
Providing for Disability
If you are concerned about providing for your own affairs during a potential disability, creating a revocable trust while you are alive can make administration of your affairs efficient. A revocable trust will permit your property to be used for your benefit in the event you become incapacitated. This allows you to have some measure of control over how your affairs are managed even if you are disabled and unable to care for yourself.
Without a Trust, your care could wind up being dictated by the whims of a court, and the proceedings could become public record. A Will cannot take effect until you pass away, so a Will won't protect you while you are still alive. An Oklahoma trust, on the other hand, ensures privacy.
Oklahoma Will and Trust Attorney
It is essential that if you are planning an estate in Oklahoma, you consult with an attorney to ensure your wishes are honored after your death. A qualified attorney will help you decide whether you need a Will or Trust and how to protect your family. Call our experienced lawyers today, or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) and one of our Oklahoma Family Lawyers will explain your options. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library.