Everyone has heard of the simple will that can be used to state your final wishes with regard to inheritances. However, you may not know there are other types of wills used in the field of estate planning. We will look at some of them here.
Advance Directives for Health Care
A comprehensive estate plan will address situations that can arise toward the end of your life. For example, you may become unable to communicate immediately before your passing. You can plan for this in advance if you execute advance directives for health care.
One of them is a living will. With this type of will, you state your life-support choices. You can address artificial hydration and nutrition, resuscitation, mechanical respiration, etc. In addition, you can also state your organ and tissue donation choices and comfort care medication preferences.
While we are on the subject, there is another directive that should be part of your plan called a durable power of attorney. In this document, you name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. These decisions are not related to the use of life-support.
The revocable living trust is a great alternative to a simple will as an asset transfer vehicle for a few different reasons. One of them is the streamlined estate administration. The trustee that you name would be able to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
This is a court proceeding that would be necessary if you use a will to transfer assets. The expenses will reduce the value of the estate, and the inheritors play a waiting game. It will take six months at minimum, and it can take longer when there are complications.
Speaking of complications, disgruntled parties can present will challenges during probate. There is also a loss of privacy, because probate records are available to anyone that wants to access them.
If you have a living trust, you should add another document called a pour-over will. Your pour-over will allows your trust to absorb assets that were never conveyed into it while you were living.
A holographic will is a will that is drawn up by the testator by hand. These wills are not recognized in every state. However, Oklahoma does accept the validity of holographic wills. To be valid, the will must be signed and dated by the testator. For this type of will, there is no need for a witness (Okla. Stat. tit. 84 § 54).
If your will is not holographic, it has to be signed in the presence of two witnesses, and the witnesses must also sign the will.
You should probably steer clear of a holographic will unless you have no other choice, because they can create problems. A number of years ago, well-known painter Thomas Kinkade passed away. His girlfriend presented two holographic wills that were almost illegible.
Mr. Kinkade was also married at the time of his death. A dispute arose between his surviving spouse and his girlfriend. There was a legal battle that was ultimately settled after a lot of acrimony and money spent on legal fees. A clear document that was properly executed would have prevented the mess.
The last will that we will look at here is the ethical will. This document is not legally binding, and it does not apply to financial matters. These wills were used to share moral and spiritual values for centuries.
Now, experts on dying and death recommend the use of ethical wills to open up about personal feelings of any kind. Your loved ones may view it as a heartfelt final message.
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You can see the dates for upcoming events and obtain registration information if you visit this page: Oklahoma City estate planning education programs.