The beginning of the year is the best time to review your Estate Plan. As you take stock of the changes in your life, and as we approach the year-anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the perfect time to make sure your Estate Plan reflects your current life situation and priorities.
An Estate Plan legally states what you want to happen to your belongings, property, and any remaining money (known as your estate) after you pass away. If someone dies without making an Estate Plan, their estate will enter probate court. This is the process by which an Oklahoma court (or whichever home state the individual lived in) will determine what happens to their estate and assets.
Most people do not realize that their estate will not just automatically pass to their family or whoever they want it to go to. This is why creating an Estate Plan is essential, as is ensuring that it is up to date. In Oklahoma, simply telling someone that you want them to have something after you’re gone is not enough for them to legally get it.
It is equally important not to try to draft an Estate Plan on your own. These are often just as useless in probate court as telling someone verbally what you want. An Estate Plan is a legal document, and it needs to be created by an estate planning lawyer who understands the terms and language it is drafted in. At Pence Law Firm, P.C., we know how to write an Estate Plan so that in the future it will still be crystal clear what your wishes are. We know how to translate your plans into a proper legally-binding document.
As well as properly creating an Estate Plan, you need to make sure that it is updated when necessary. If you have recently gotten married or divorced, you want your Estate Plan and beneficiary designations to reflect that. You might think that it is common sense that your ex-spouse would no longer receive your insurance benefits after you pass away – but if they are still in your name, that is just what will happen.
Leaving behind an incomplete Estate Plan could create years of headaches and losses for your family. Probate is expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining when an Estate Plan is unclear or incomplete. In that case, there is no guarantee that at the end of it probate, your family will even get your estate in the way you had wanted. They frequently do not, even with adult children. And your remaining assets can be significantly depleted by lawyer fees over the process.
The only way to protect your family from a devastating probate is through a strong Estate Plan drafted by a lawyer. It is time to review your Estate Plan and make sure it reflects your life and wishes how they currently stand. Contact Pence Law Firm, P.C. today to make sure you have a correct Estate Plan! Schedule an appointment to get started!