Incredibly, 70% of adults do not have a will or trust. If you do not use a will, trust, or some other method of legal transfer of legal transfer of your property when you die, state law will determine what happens to your property. This process, called “intestate succession,” involves the distribution of your property to your spouse and children (or other relatives) according to a statutory formula. This is usually not so bad when the children are from the marriage. They will, if they are good people, take care of their parent. But, consider a second marriages? The step-children may not be favorably inclined to provide for the step-parent. That can cause a problem for the surviving spouse. The failure to make a will or trust providing for a surviving spouse, may throw him or her into poverty.
In addition to making a will or trust, you may wish to consider other methods of legal transfer at death. Joint tenancy ownership usually will transfer to the surviving owner the property. This usually works well for real estate, bank accounts, securities and sometimes for vehicles. Another device available in Oklahoma is the use of a transfer-on-death deed. This is a witnessed document signed by the owner of the property naming a death beneficiary. In a lot of ways it is similar to a will, except that it only controls the specific real property described. Many people also use a “payable-on-death” beneficiary designation for their bank accounts, certificates of deposit or bonds. Knowing which to use if important. Most people will benefit from a consultation with an estate planning attorney, such as Brent D. Coldiron.
Although many find it difficult to consider their own death, dealing with maters such as a will makes life a little easier on survivors. Brent D. Coldiron is an experienced estate planner and elder law attorney. To schedule a consultation call (405) 478-5655.