Elwell and Spain practices comprehensive estate planning. Although estate planning often begins with the creation of a will, it does not end with a will. At Elwell and Spain, we pride ourselves in fully understanding our clients circumstances and creating a full estate plan to meet our clients' goals in a wide range of possible circumstances. Below is a description of some of the tools that we implement to achieve our clients' wishes.
Wills based estate planning is essential for all Oklahoma residents. A properly prepared will establishes beneficiaries upon the passing of the grantor. Without properly drafted and executed will, state law will determine the eventual beneficiary. Wills should be periodically reviewed and updated, especially when life circumstances change.
Most people assume that the spouse of a deceased person will inherit all of the deceased's property. However, if there are children in the family, this is often not the case. In fact, the children may have significant claims to estate assets. A simple will can determine beneficiaries based on the a persons wishes, not state law.
Trust based estate planning allows for greater control of assets and protections in case of incapacity. Probate avoidance is another benefit of trust based planning. Once fully funded, a trust will avoid the need to probate an estate. A trust can also be used to limit beneficiaries access to assets for set time periods.
It is a common misconception that trusts are only useful for wealthy families. This is true for some complex tax planning trusts; but, more simple revocable trusts can provide a benefit to most any family. Costs of probate are often a burden on a burden on the family of a passed loved one. The creation of a revocable trust can greatly alleviate this burden.
Control of property remains in the control of the grantor of a trust. Some people are afraid that they may lose control of their assets once placed in a trust. Most people will find that little has changed in managing their property during their life once a trust has been created.
Power of attorney
Powers of attorney allow for others to act on the behalf of incapacitated individuals. These planning documents can make the management of an incapacitated person's assets much simpler, often avoiding the need for a guardianship. However, these documents must be completed be incapacity has occurred.
Advanced Medical Directives are also an important part of anyone's estate plan. These documents outline important wishes for an individuals end of life circumstances. By determining these wishes, family members are not forced to make difficult decisions without knowing their loved one's wishes.