Asset Distribution in Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney
You may be wondering if you would benefit from an estate plan, especially if you’re concerned about how your assets will be distributed after you’re gone. It’s important to know that you don’t have to be wealthy or elderly to start thinking seriously about estate planning. Often times it’s the families with a small estate who can afford to lose the least and therefore benefit dramatically from having an estate plan in place.
There are several factors that will impact how assets and real estate property are distributed when the owner passes. For example, whether or not the decedent was married or had children and whether or not there is a will or a trust in effect will affect asset distribution. There are many reasons why someone might want a will or a trust, but most importantly having a will or a trust allows you to decide who will receive your assets and property instead of leaving that choice to Oklahoma’s intestate succession laws, which take effect when someone dies without a will.
While having a will allows you to appoint a personal representative to settle your estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries outside of your immediate family circle, having a trust can allow you to avoid theprobate court system altogether if the trust is funded properly.
What happens if I die without an estate plan?
Providing your estate is not controlled by a prenuptial agreement through marriage, there are general rules about how an estate is distributed when someone dies without a will or a trust.
If you die leaving a spouse and children behind, your spouse receives one-half of your estate while your children split the remaining half in equal shares. If you die leaving behind a surviving spouse and no children, your spouse gets one-half of your estate and your parents get the other half.
If you die divorced or unwed but you have children, your children receive your entire estate in equal shares. If you die single with no children, your parents receive your entire estate. Special rules will apply if you have children from a previous marriage and you have separate property, and also if you acquired property in your earlier marriage.
Oklahoma Law and Distributing Property
If you wish to exclude your spouse, note that under Oklahoma law, a married person cannot completely exclude their spouse and the law allows a spouse to elect to take a portion of the estate, even if the will says otherwise. Additionally, if you do not name a child or a grandchild in your will, then the child or grandchild may have certain rights to claim a portion of the estate. An Oklahoma City estate planning attorney from our firm can explain all of the restrictions and show you how to accomplish your goals by applying certain strategies.
For more information about the various estate planning tools and how they affect asset distribution, contact the Law Office of Bryon J. Will, P.L.L.C. today for aggressive and effective legal representation.