Everyone knows that estate planning involves the use of a will or a trust to state your wishes regarding way you want your assets to be transferred after you die. Once you have the document in place, you have fulfilled your responsibility, and that’s the end of the story.
This is actually a shortsighted point of view. You will need to tend to many details. You may not recognize these details, so we will look at some of them here.
If you collect antiques, classic cars, coins, musical instruments, art, or some other hard-to-find items, you have to ask yourself some hard questions. Would your children want these collectibles? Do they have the knowledge it takes to negotiate fair prices for the collection?
Families that have been overwhelmed by collections they have inherited have recently been depicted on the American Pickers television show. Even though you are attached to your collection, you may want to consider liquidation at some point.
When you take this step, you are making things easier for loved ones that would find it difficult to take on the responsibility.
Avoid Ancillary Probate
Probate is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of a court. If you use a will to express your final wishes, the executor that you name will admit the will to probate.
Probate is a time-consuming process that will take about six months at minimum. Beneficiaries do not receive their inheritances during probate. You do not have any privacy in probate. All probate records are public.
Another drawback of probate is the expense factor. The executor will receive payment, and there can be legal and accounting fees, and there will be court costs.
If you live in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma County Probate Court will preside over the administration of your estate if you use a will.
This court would not be empowered to oversee the transfer of property that is another state. Let’s say that you own a vacation house in Florida. Under these circumstances, there would be an ancillary probate process in the state of Florida.
Your family will have to deal with two different probate procedures if you utilize a will to direct asset transfers. To prevent this, you could use a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan instead of a will.
After your passing, the trustee that you designate would distribute assets to the beneficiaries outside of probate, regardless of the location of the property.
Letter of Final Instruction
You will need to provide your estate administrator certain information. This would include the location of property and relevant documents, keys and access codes, login information for online accounts, etc.
You can share all relevant information in a letter of last instruction. When you are composing the letter, ask yourself what the administrator will need to know, and act accordingly.
Estate Plan Reviews and Revisions
Estate planning should be viewed as a process rather than a one-time event. After you have put your initial plan in place, things can change, and adjustments may become necessary. You should act quickly when you know your estate plan should be revised.
Even if you are not aware of any particular reason why you should alter your plan, you should review it with an estate planning attorney every few years.
Attend an Educational Event!
If you would like to learn more about estate planning, attend one of our educational events. There is no charge, so this is a great way to make a connection with our firm and build on your knowledge.
You can see the dates and obtain registration information if you visit this page: Oklahoma City Estate Planning Events.