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What Exactly Is A Will?

A will is a document that tells everyone, including the probate court, what you want to happen with your stuff and who you want to be in charge of your estate after you pass away.

The person in charge of your estate is typically referred to as your personal representative. This person was formerly known as your executor or executrix. The personal representative will make decisions such as what property in your estate will be sold and for how much. He or she will also keep track of all of your income, pay all your bills and generally take care of all your final affairs.

One of the most important tasks your personal representative will complete is issuing notice to any potential creditors of your estate. A notice to creditors drastically reduces the amount of time that the creditors have to make claims against your estate. Without this notice, creditors may have up to 5 years to bring a claim. Under Oklahoma law, the notice to creditors can reduce a creditor’s claim time down to 60 days.

Does A Will Require A Person to Have A Certain Amount Of Assets?

There is no minimum amount of assets necessary in order for you to create a will. Many people, who have no net worth at all, still wish to nominate guardians over their minor children and give the court guidance as to who they want to be in charge of their final affairs. Therefore, it could be extremely important to make a will even if you have no assets at all. It is also reasonable to create a will for the purpose of nominating your personal representative. For example, your personal representative is responsible for bringing any lawsuits your estate may have as a result of your passing. You should nominate someone you trust to handle such tasks.

What Is The Difference Between An Estate Plan And A Will?

An estate plan is a comprehensive plan for taking care of your assets and your rights. It generally includes several pieces, such as a power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, an advanced directive for healthcare, an irrevocable trust, a revocable trust, and even a will. A will is one important ingredient to a comprehensive estate plan but it is not an estate plan by itself. It is, however, better than nothing at all. A will does have a disadvantage when compared to an estate plan in that it is practically certain to require that your estate be submitted to the probate court. Probate will lengthen the closing of an estate, and allow the probate attorneys to collect a fee from the estate, which in some situations can be quite significant. Many people really hope to avoid the cost and time of probate and therefore create comprehensive estate plans, wherein they fund all of their assets in the name of a trust.

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

The state has written a will for you. This will is contained in the Oklahoma statutes of intestacy and it controls who will receive your assets if you die without a will. For example, if you have a blended family where you or your spouse have children outside of the current marriage, the surviving spouse is likely to inherit only a portion of the property and the children are likely to inherit the balance of the property. Occasionally, the will that the State of Oklahoma has written for you is exactly what you would choose for yourself. Generally speaking, however, this is not at all what you would choose. Most of my clients believe that their surviving spouse needs to have access to the entire estate to meet his or her life needs. Therefore, it is clearly popular to require that the entire estate remain, at least somewhat, available to the surviving spouse and that the children take nothing while the surviving spouse is living. Therefore, it is urgent that you read and understand the will that the state has prepared for you. It is convoluted and may not be similar to what you want for yourself. If you find that to be true, please prepare a comprehensive estate plan or at least a last will and testament.

For more information on Wills In Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 754-4166 today.

Terrell Monks, Esq. - Estate Planning Attorney, Edmond City

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