Earlier this year, a childhood friend of mine died suddenly. We had not seen each other in three years, and his death hit me pretty hard. As I sat at his funeral, I wondered whether he had life insurance, a trust, or a will, and whether his family would be okay if they hadn’t prepared for this unexpected loss. About 6 months later another childhood friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and died 3 weeks later with no will, no estate planning documents, no kids, no siblings, his mom had passed away and his only surviving close relative was his father. His father needed to probate the estate to pay outstanding debts like the hospital bills and transfer the car and house out of his son’s name and into his own name. My point is simple – we may never be ready for the loss of a loved one or the loss of our own life – but we can certainly be prepared.
At the end of the day, do you really want to leave your family, loved ones, and business partners unprepared and set up for a fight over their financial security?
Reasons To Make An Estate Plan
It is important to carry out end of life planning, even if it does not seem as though the end of life is imminent. My best friend from junior high school called me up one day unexpectedly and told me he was just informed he had stage 4 cancer. 18 days later a brain aneurysm ruptured and he was gone. No one knows when it will be their turn to pass, and the risk of waiting too long to make an estate plan comes at a great cost to the loved ones left behind. It is very painful to lose someone and everyone grieves differently, but most people find some level of comfort in knowing that by following the wishes in the estate plan, they are following the wishes of the loved one they have lost. And the anger that people feel towards the person that has died can certainly be lessened if there are not a lot of unexpected surprises. Fortunately, the process to making an estate plan is straight forward.
The 10 Steps Of Estate Planning
|Decide who gets the marbles||State law decides who gets the marbles|
|Control how and when beneficiaries will get the marbles||The terms and timing of passing out the marbles are set by law, and the kids could be left in control of the marbles|
|Decide who will be the executor to manage passing out the marbles of your estate||The court appoints the executor to pass out the marbles of your estate|
|Reduce estate taxes and administrative expenses||Statutory procedures governing distributions may increase costs, expenses, and taxes|
|Recommend selected guardians for any minor children||The court determines a guardian for children without the decedent’s input|
|Prepare for the orderly continuance or sale of a family business||A forced sale may be required due to a lack of planning, financial loss, and family hardships|
|May avoid probate proceedings||May not avoid certain statutorily prescribed probate proceedings|
- Gather family information.
- Gather financial information.
- Set goals for both personal and financial needs and desires. This can include both business and family considerations.
- Conduct a legal and tax analysis based on the goals that have been prioritized.
- Based upon the information, goals, and analysis, consider whether there should be a will or a trust
- Once a plan has been agreed upon, the attorney prepares the documents.
- The attorney submits the documents to the client for review.
- Once the documents have been approved by the client, the documents are executed.
- After the documents have been executed, the plan is implemented (i.e. assets will be transferred to a trust, beneficiaries will be named, and/or transfer on death deeds will be drafted).
- A completed plan and final set of documents is available for safekeeping and peace of mind!
For more information on Being Blindsided By Death In Oklahoma, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (918) 565-0070 today.