The Estate Planning Questions That We Get Asked The Most
The term “estate planning” includes a set of documents that will help you and your family manage your estate and your healthcare when you cannot. A will, a trust, a power of attorney, beneficiary designations, and an advance medical directive are all a part of an estate plan.
It is important to give your family the peace of mind that comes with a detailed estate plan. We urge all clients to have all parts of an estate plan so that their families are not put in a difficult position while they are mourning your demise or death. It is difficult to witness a family both grieving the loss of their loved one and arguing with one another at the same time.
To get you started down the right path, these are some of the most common estate planning questions that we get in our office.
1. What is probate?
When a loved one passes away, his or her estate may be required to proceed through a court process either called probate administration (with a will) or estate administration (without a will). If a person dies without a will it’s called “dying intestate”. Those who die intestate require the state to divide up all assets to the descendants in probate court. The person who dies has no say in who gets what assets because they never expressed their wishes in writing.
This process is complex and technical. Learn more about this process here.
2. What is a trust?
A trust is traditionally used for minimizing estate taxes and can offer other benefits as part of a well-crafted estate plan. Many people think that trusts are only for rich people. That is not true. Learn more about the benefits of trusts here.
3. What is a durable power of attorney?
A DPOA-Property allows you to appoint a person to act as your agent on your behalf with respect to your property and money matters. It can take effect immediately or in the future if you become disabled or incapacitated. Find more details for powers of attorney here.
5. What is a living will?
A living will is a document that allows you to explain your wishes regarding the medical procedures you want or don't want in the event that your health becomes critical. A living will is also called an advance healthcare directive or an advance medical directive. It applies when — and only when — you can't voice your own wishes. Advance medical directives can include a do not resuscitate order (DNR), details on organ or tissue donation, and physician orders. Read more about medical directives and living wills here.
Kevin Miller has been an estate planning, probate, and elder law attorney in Oklahoma City for more than 30 years. Kevin feels strongly that everyone should have estate planning, regardless of age. If you have questions about estate planning, how long it takes, the cost of estate planning, or any extenuating circumstances required in your estate plan, please contact Kevin here.