We understand how important wills and trusts are when you must leave your family and friends behind. Our clients find that our focus on personal service and personalized solutions is very important to developing a will that fits your needs. A lot of thought should go into it, so we will ask you questions in our initial consultation that you may not have considered otherwise. We will help you think about what is really important to you and your family.
At your initial will conference, we will discuss your options and make recommendations regarding the following factors:
- The make-up of your estate
- How you want your estate distributed, to whom and when
- Estate tax and inheritance tax possibilities
- Whether trusts for you or your children are appropriate
- How to avoid the time and expense of probate
- The physical care of your minor children in your absence
- The need for living directives and resuscitation desires
- The management of your property if you are disabled
- And many other issues
You should come prepared with the following information:
- Value of all assets including life insurance
- Persons to be appointed to act as representatives of you or your estate (executor, trustees, agents for Powers of Attorney)
- Persons to care for your children in your absence (guardians)
Our trusted estate planning attorneys recommend you address these issues now before life situations make them emergency decisions. Our clients have benefited emotionally, physically and financially from our probate attorneys’ knowledge and broad-based advice on preparing wills.
A trust is a document or arrangement used to transfer property from a trustor to a trustee, who administers the property for another’s benefit (called a beneficiary). Trusts can be created to serve specific purposes, such as asset protection, charitable organizations, education, investment, and income.
In the matter of trusts, especially those that are created for a sizeable estate, an experienced estate planning attorney helps clients determine which options will achieve the greatest tax benefits and that the estate is left to the intended heirs.
There are numerous types of trusts, and many trusts may be hybrid trusts incorporating various trust principles. Our estate planning attorneys can guide you through your options and help plan for your future and your family’s future. The following are some of the more common trusts:
- Revocable Trusts are similar in purpose to a will; however, a revocable trust becomes valuable in its ability to minimize administrative time and costs after death and regarding probate proceedings. This is a popular mechanism to manage your estate.
- Irrevocable Trusts, or Protective Trusts, are generally effective for tax planning and to protect money and property from creditors, but irrevocable trusts also have strict management rules. These are more common for high net worth individuals and families.
- Contingent Testamentary Trusts are great devices to protect your descendants from “wasting” all of their inheritance. This can be incorporated into a will, which is generally advisable for families with minor children.
Directives and Advance Planning
An advanced health care directive is a legal document that orders physicians and caretakers to follow your specific wishes when you become incapacitated with little or no hope of a meaningful recovery. Advance Health Care Directives (also known as living wills) and Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) are examples of advanced healthcare directives. These documents ensure that your family does not need to watch you suffer any more than you would wish for, thereby relieving your family of difficult decisions and letting your family know what your true intentions really are.
Life holds many unexpected experiences. An accident, injury, or illness can render an individual temporarily or permanently incapacitated — making them incapable of managing certain aspects of their life or affairs. Advance Health Care Directives (also known as living wills), powers of attorney, and other advanced directives provide pertinent documentation that plans for the unexpected.
Make certain that your family understands your wishes, should you be incapable of communicating your wishes to them. Our estate planning attorneys can help you establish an appropriate Advance Health Care Directive, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents that are tailored to your needs.
Advance Health Care Directive
An Advance Health Care Directive (aka living will) provides instructions regarding the care and treatment that should be provided for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
When an individual is diagnosed with a terminal medical condition, the administration of life-sustaining treatment is a personal issue. Unfortunately, at the moment that such treatment would be necessary, most people are not of mentally sound mind to legally make such decisions. Without proper documentation in place, doctors are required to administer necessary procedures — even if your loved ones feel you would have wished otherwise. The only way to ensure your wishes are followed is to communicate your decisions to doctors and loved ones through an Advance Health Care Directive.
Discuss your end of life preferences with loved ones and allow our trusted estate planning attorneys to work with you to ensure your preferences are properly documented in a living will or Advance Health Care Directive.
Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney provides the authorization for another person to act as your agent or attorney. The agent is attorney in fact and his or her power is revoked upon the death of the principal.
A power of attorney should be part of everyone’s overall estate plan. Without proper documentation in place, your family may be forced to initiate expensive and time-consuming guardianship proceedings in a moment of family crisis. Our estate planning attorneys assist clients in establishing a durable power of attorney or a health care power of attorney:
- A durable power of attorney authorizes an individual of your choosing to make financial or personal decisions on your behalf. This could include paying your bills and managing other aspects of your finances to handling personal matters on your behalf.
- A health care power of attorney names and authorizes an individual to make all health care treatment decisions, including when and if death-delaying procedures should be employed when you are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself. However, while an Advance Health Care Directive only addresses end-of-life medical treatment issues, a health care power of attorney addresses a broader spectrum of issues. If in the future, a medical provider believes that you are mentally incompetent to manage your own health care, the individual you named as your health care power of attorney will manage your health care affairs — from making medical appointments to making important medical decisions based upon your doctor’s advice.
Disputes over someone’s power of attorney can arise. These cases involve issues such as duress, fraud, breach of fiduciary responsibility, and other concerns. Our estate planning and probate lawyers are available to provide skilled legal representation in these disputes in Tulsa county and the surrounding area.
Our trusted estate planning attorneys can help ensure that a will or trust meets your objectives and fulfills all of Oklahoma’s legal requirements. Contact our Tulsa estate planning and probate attorneys for qualified legal guidance on wills, trusts, and all you other estate planning needs including estate administration and probate, Advance Health Care Directives and powers of attorney.
Schedule your initial consultation free consultation over the telephone at (918) 947-8102 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.