In most cases, the least expensive way to arrange for the transfer of assets to your loved ones is to execute a simple last will. However, only executing a simple last will would also ignore a number of other factors.
The key word in the first sentence is “arrange.” Something to consider as well is that there can be expenses incurred after the arrangements have been made. If you do use a last will to direct the transfer of your resources after your death, your estate is going to be probated. This process is not free by any stretch of the imagination.
Depending on the details of your estate, your executor – who is entitled to payment – will have to bring in any number of additional professionals such as a local Oklahoma City probate lawyer, an appraiser, an accountant, and perhaps an estate liquidation company. Of course all of these entities charge for their expertise, and the probate court itself charges a fee.
Probate also opens the door to will challenges. A long, drawn out battle can ratchet up the expenses even further and in the end your actual wishes may not hold depending on the decision of the court.
An alternative could be to utilize a revocable living trust to direct the transfer of your assets. Should you do so, your heirs will receive their inheritances outside of the process of probate. Yes, it is more expensive to have a trust created than it is to execute a last will, but in the long run the trust can wind up saving your family a good bit of money.
We always remind our clients that there is a cost to create an estate plan, a cost to operate it during your lifetime, and a cost to complete it. A last will might be less expensive to create but when considering the overall cost it can be the most expensive.
If the idea of creating a revocable living trust is appealing to you, you may want to take action right now and pick up the phone to arrange for a consultation with a licensed and experienced Oklahoma City estate planning attorney.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday