Wills Attorney in Tulsa, OK
Tulsa wills lawyers are legal professionals specializing in aiding clients to draft and execute their wills. A wills lawyer provides advice and recommendations to their clients on how to best plan their estates so that their assets are properly distributed in the event of their death.
Why Choose Riddle Law
- Your needs come first at Riddle Law. Our team will serve you with empathy, compassion, and understanding.
- We are honest about our fees. You will not be surprised by unexpected expenses since we are upfront and honest about what our services will cost.
- Though I have won awards and have been recognized for my hard work, the recognition I seek is being seen as a friend or a family member by clients I have helped throughout my career.
The Importance of Estate Planning
Accumulating assets takes hard work. Keeping it requires good financial decisions. Planning an estate protects those hard-earned assets and ensures they are distributed as you see fit upon your death. While it is not a pleasant topic to consider, it is of the utmost importance to carefully plan your estate so that your property is protected from taxes and probate complications and so that it goes to the person or people you intend to receive it.
Estate planning is important for several reasons. Some of the most common reasons for estate plan are listed below:
- Your loved ones are provided for: To ensure that your loved ones benefit from the assets you worked hard to accumulate, it is critical to make sure that you leave instructions as to how they are distributed. You can make sure the people who matter to you are taken care of and that they receive the property you want them to have by planning your estate with a Tulsa wills lawyer.
- Keeping the peace in your family after you are gone: Another reason to have an estate plan is so that you are clear about the distribution of your assets. By having a clear and legal will or trust, you have provided your heirs with your explicit intentions, thereby avoiding disagreements and disputes that have been known to destroy families.
- Reducing taxes and expenses: By properly planning your estate, you can reduce the amount of taxes, and the other costs and fees settling an estate can require. A skilled Tulsa wills attorney can offer you guidance on how to place your assets in the hands of your heirs so that it is not being spent on taxes and other expenses.
- Planning for incapacity: While planning a will makes known your wishes for your property after you die, estate planning does not end there. By thoroughly planning your estate, you make accommodations for the possibility that you someday become incapacitated. You can plan your advance healthcare directives and appoint powers of attorney so that your desires are met, even if the day comes when you can no longer communicate with them.
- Freedom from worry: Estate planning allows you and your loved ones peace of mind. Having your affairs in order can eliminate some of the stress that you and your loved ones might otherwise face.
What to Include in Your Will
Your will outlines what you want to be done with your assets after your death. Your Tulsa, OK, wills attorney with Riddle Law can assist you in making sure that all of your bases are covered when it comes to planning your estate. The following items should be included in your will:
- List of beneficiaries: You will want to name the people, charities, or other organizations you want to inherit your assets upon your passing. This may be family members, close friends, business partners, charities, religious organizations, schools, or other groups you choose to support. You can specify what each one of your beneficiaries should inherit by planning ahead.
- An executor: You will choose a trusted party to carry out the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. They will manage your estate, pay any debts or taxes the estate owes, and will make sure the property is distributed properly.
- The naming of guardians: If you are a parent of minor children, one of the primary things you want your will to include is who will take care of them if you pass away. Clearly stating your wishes for guardians for your children, after talking to the prospective guardian to make sure they are up to the task, is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
- Explicit inheritance instructions: Often, there are assets or specific pieces of property that you want particular people or groups to inherit. For instance, you may have a collectible automobile that you want your grandson, a car enthusiast, to inherit. Stating this in your will ensures the intended recipient receives the property you want them to have.
- Funeral arrangements: You can plan for the funeral you desire, including whether you want to be buried or cremated, where the service takes place, where you will be buried, and any other specific ideas about your funeral that you want to be made known can be included in your will.
- Management of digital assets: Managing your digital assets, such as your social media accounts, your email, online investments, and online banking accounts, can be included in your will. This way, there are explicit instructions as to how they are managed following your death. You can determine whether they are deleted or preserved and who has control over the accounts.
- Alternate beneficiaries: Your Tulsa wills attorney will guide you in naming alternate beneficiaries in the instance that one or more of your heirs pass before you do, but before you have a chance to update your will. Constructing a contingency plan for the distribution of your assets can clear up confusion and animosity that could otherwise occur in the event that something unforeseen occurs.
Understanding Probate and How a Tulsa Wills Lawyer Can Help
After a person passes away, their estate is settled through probate. This means the deceased’s property is distributed to their beneficiaries through the probate process. It can be a complicated, laborious process.
A Tulsa, OK, wills attorney works for you to help you navigate the often confusing system. Your attorney with Riddle Law will explain the probate process to you and make sure you have a firm understanding of the process and that the appropriate paperwork is filed, and that the assets are distributed to your beneficiaries.
The probate process is not only time-consuming but can also be expensive. Having a wills lawyer from Tulsa, OK, can minimize the amount of time and money required to settle your estate. They can help you to create a strategy to avoid probate when possible and facilitate the probate process by simplifying it as much as possible.
Ensuring that your will complies with state laws is something that your wills attorney will address, making sure that your plan for asset distribution is properly executed. By doing this work ahead of time, you can ensure that your beneficiaries receive their fair share and that your assets are protected.
If disputes do arise while your estate is going through the probate process, a wills attorney can help with their resolution so that you can be sure that your intentions are carried out.
Protecting Your Assets By Minimizing Estate Taxes
When leaving your assets to your beneficiaries, there is often a concern about estate taxes eating up your hard-earned wealth. The state of Oklahoma, along with 38 other states, has no inheritance tax. Oklahoma also does not have an inheritance tax.
Estate taxes, or “death tax,” are applied to the estate of a person who died before their assets are dispersed to their beneficiaries. States who have an estate tax determine an asset threshold that applies to the estate before the estate is taxed.
Inheritance taxes differ from estate taxes. Inheritance taxes are paid by the heirs on the valuables they inherited. While Oklahoma does not have either tax, it may still apply to Oklahoma beneficiaries or those planning their estates if some of the property being willed is from a state that has an inheritance or an estate tax.
The following states and the District of Columbia have estate taxes:
- New York
- Rhode Island
Six states levy inheritance taxes. They are listed below:
If you live in a state that has an inheritance tax, your wills attorney can advise you about how to proceed so that you do not face the consequences of missing a payment. There may be measures you can take when planning your estate that your Tulsa wills lawyer can counsel you to take so that you can avoid having your loved ones pay more taxes than they must.
Avoiding Common Estate Planning Mistakes
When planning an estate, a Tulsa wills attorney from Riddle Law can help you to avoid making costly mistakes. The following are common mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Lack of planning: The most significant error you can make when it comes to your estate is not formulating an estate plan. By putting off planning, since you never know when something catastrophic will happen, you could be jeopardizing the financial future of your loved ones. It is important to formulate an estate plan with your Tulsa, OK, wills lawyer and to update it any time you have a significant life event or every five years, and you should review your plan to make sure no changes are in order.
- Failure to discuss plans with your loved ones: It is a good idea to inform your loved ones about your plans for your estate. By explaining your intentions, they can adjust their expectations appropriately and eliminate disagreements that might come when emotions are running high after your passing.
- Only naming one beneficiary: It is important to have more than one beneficiary assigned to your estate. This eliminates the issues that would arise if your sole beneficiary passed away prior to you. Your wills lawyer may suggest that you name a contingency beneficiary so that the next in line to inherit will benefit from your estate if the primary beneficiary has passed.
- Neglecting to name a power of attorney or healthcare representative: Having a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy is a crucial step that should not be skipped. This gives a trusted loved one decision-making power in the case that you become incapacitated.
- Failure to make final arrangements: Planning your funeral and burial arrangements prior to your death can ease the grief that your family will ultimately face when losing you. You can designate how you want your life celebrated, whether you want to enter hospice care, where memorials should be made, and other wishes you may have for your end-of-life care.
- Overlooking a plan for your digital assets: Digital assets are a new area of estate planning. The world we live in is technology-heavy, so it only makes sense to plan for your email, social media accounts, and online investment and banking accounts. Assigning a digital executor and including digital estate planning in your primary estate plan is crucial.
- Forgetting to include charities and organizations you support: If you want to continue to support a charity or an organization that is close to your heart, it is important to remember to designate how you want to support them after your life ends in your estate.
- Forgetting to plan for your children: One of the most important things a will does is plan for the future of minor children. You should be sure to leave instructions for their care, who their guardians will be, how the assets left to them can be spent on their behalf and directions about how your assets can be divided.
- Infrequently updating your estate plan: Estate planning is not typically a one-and-done situation. When major life events occur, like marriage, deaths, births, divorcees, and remarriages, you should reevaluate your estate plan. If nothing major has happened, it is still important to review your estate plan. You may have sold a property, liquidated investments, purchased property, or invested in other areas that are not mentioned in your estate.
Tulsa, OK, Wills Attorney Can Guide You Through the Estate Planning Process
A wills attorney in Tulsa with Riddle Law has the knowledge and legal acumen that it takes to design and organize a well-structured estate plan. By doing this early, long before you are facing health challenges, you ensure that your loved ones benefit from the assets you have worked hard to amass. Reach out today to see how we can help you plan for the future.