I get it — You're not exactly jumping out of bed exclaiming, "Let's figure out what will happen to my stuff when I die!" It's not a topic any of us are particularly thrilled about discussing. Nevertheless, it is something we all should be prepared for to a certain extent. Having your affairs in order isn't just a smart move in general, but it also allows your friends and family to celebrate your life without being interrupted by the pains of figuring out what to do with your assets. Not to mention, if there's a situation in which you should become incapacitated, having the right legal documents on file can help ensure your wishes are acknowledged while you're still alive.
At Rochelle & Associates, I can help you with wills, trusts, and probate matters in a manner that endows you with confidence about the future. With me as your attorney, I'll create the documents necessary to protect your assets and see to it that your final wishes are honored to the fullest extent. When you're ready to move forward, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. I value your trust and will work with you to put your mind at ease.
A will is a statement that outlines what exactly you want to be done with your things after your death. Having a valid will on file can help alleviate the process of probate mandated by the courts. In order to create a will in Oklahoma, you must be at least 18-years-old and of sound mind. You also need to have two witnesses to sign the will. If your will is handwritten, however, you don't need any witnesses to sign it so long as you've signed and dated it. While oral wills (also known as nuncupative wills) can be risky, they are honored by law if the testator (the person writing the will) is in the military, the total value of assets is less than $1,000 and there are three witnesses — one of which was asked by the testator to be a witness.
Trusts are ideal for estate planning and there are a few different types of trusts you can set up. With a living trust, you can manage your assets while you're alive and have them distributed after you die. Life insurance and retirement accounts cannot be added to a living trust. Then, there's a revocable trust which means the assets stay part of your estate and the assets can be moved or canceled at any time. With an irrevocable trust, the assets are removed from your estate and can't be reversed or changed once the document is signed. Keep in mind that a trust does not replace a will.
Probate involves the process of the court system distributing the assets in the will and trust. It also involves making sure debts are paid. Typically, if there is a will, probate is not required. If there isn't a will, then Oklahoma's laws of descent will determine who gets what. The entire process can take anywhere from six to twelve months.