Benefits of Having an Estate Plan


You may be asking yourself, "Do I need an estate plan?" The short answer is yes you do! It is a popular misconception that only wealthy people or those approaching retirement are the ones that need to think about estate planning, but the truth is that everyone benefits from having an estate plan regardless of their age or their wealth. But, we cannot ignore the fact that high net worth individuals and those approaching the golden years do tend to think about estate planning more than others.

If you fall into any one or more of the following categories, you should consider estate planning sooner than later:

  • You're married
  • You have minor children
  • You own a home
  • You own land
  • You have significant assets
  • You own a business

Since no one can predict accidents or illness, establishing an estate plan sooner than later can give you peace of mind knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. If you have loved ones such as a spouse and children depending on you for support, establishing an estate plan will ensure that they are properly taken care of should anything ever happen to you. Even if you own a modest home and earn a modest living, you can still benefit dramatically from creating an estate plan. Some of the benefits of having an estate plan include the following:

  • You can appoint a guardian for minor children
  • You can name a personal representative (of your choosing) to settle your estate
  • You can plan for long-term nursing home care
  • You can plan for Medicaid without sacrificing your life savings
  • You can create life insurance policies to care for your loved ones
  • You can reduce the size of your taxable estate
  • You can make tax-free gifts
  • You can decide who gets what and when

What happens if I die without a plan?

Dying without a will is called "dying intestate." If you die without a will or a trust in place, your assets and property will be divided according to Oklahoma's laws of intestate succession. For example, if you die with a surviving spouse and no will, what your spouse gets will depend on whether or not you have any living parents or descendants (children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren). Additionally, if you die with any children or other descendants from you and your surviving spouse, your surviving spouse will inherit half of your intestate property.

Generally speaking, when people die without a will the state attempts to distribute assets to the closest living relatives of the decedent; however, the state is very strict about distribution and it does not play any favorites. It doesn't matter if you haven't spoken to your son in 20 years, or if your parents disowned you, complicated family dynamics don't enter into the equation when it comes to the laws of intestate succession. If you die without a will, your money could essentially end up in the wrong hands.

The only way you can guarantee that your assets are distributed to whom you want, when you want, is to draft an estate plan that is tailored to meet your specific goals.

Creek County estate planning attorney, Gene Thompson can meet with you, evaluate your circumstances, listen to your long-term goals and help you draft an estate plan that will ensure that you and your family enjoy true financial security. You're invited to call our office today at (918) 223-3044!