Last Will and Testament or Trust?

During my pregnancy with our first son, my husband and I determined that we needed a will.  Our main concern at the time was the well-being of this child, and any future children be taken care of, “in the event of”.  Fast forward many years.  Our needs had changed, as had our state of residence. Now there was only one child left at home, so we updated our will and guardianship.  Today we are empty nesters AND living in a different state again. We knew our needs were different, however, we weren’t sure what changes needed to be made.  Trust or Will? Advance Health Care Directive? Power of Attorney?  That’s when I located Ms. Kacie Cresswell, a local attorney.  She was able to answer all of our questions and make the process as easy as possible.

Please note, this information is for the state of Oklahoma.  The regulations in your state may differ, so please contact an attorney from your area to assist with your state requirements. My point in this post is to instill an URGENCY in you to get your house in order, if you have not already done so.  A good time to do this is while you are in good health, a good state of mind and while you are not under time pressures.  Think about it ~ Paula ♥ And a big THANKS to Kacie Cresswell for her help!!!

From Today’s Contributor:  Kacie Cresswell

“Many different tools exist to assist clients in planning for the future.  Clients often opt for a will, trust, durable power of attorney, advanced health care directive, or some combination.”

About a WILL:

“A will is a great tool for anyone, whether you are wealthy or not.  If you have a will you can choose your own personal representative to take care of your estate once you are gone.  If you designate a personal representative in a will, the court may not require a bond when a probate is filed. ”

“Also, within a will, you can appoint guardians for your children.  If you die without a will, the Court will appoint guardians, who may or may not be your choice, for your children.”

“If you die without a will or trust, Oklahoma will basically write one for you.  Oklahoma law defines who is an heir and who is not.  If you have a stepchild or step-grandchild for example, they would not be an heir.  If you wish for them to inherit, you will need to specifically designate that in a will.”

“A will is a great tool to provide evidence of what exactly your wishes are.  However, a probate will probably be necessary to distribute the estate, such as a house.  While a will is often less expensive than a trust, the cost of probate often exceeds the cost of a trust.  A will only comes into play upon death.  A trust, however, can become effective upon illness or incapacity. ”

About a TRUST:

“A trust is another great tool for estate planning.  The main advantage of a trust is avoiding probate, which can cost thousands of dollars and take years.  Privacy is another advantage of a trust because the court does not get involved. ”

“A trust allows you to manage your own estate and affairs until you are unable or have passed away.  Within the trust, you are able to appoint a successor trustee.  Whenever the time comes (through death or incapacity), management of your estate is basically handed over to the successor trustee to manage as you have provided within the trust.”

About our Attorney ~  Today’s Contributor:  Kacie Cresswell

“I was born and raised in Owasso. I attended undergraduate at Oklahoma State University and law school at University of Tulsa. I graduated law school in May 2008. With my partner, Kevin Merritt, I opened Cresswell & Merritt, P.L.L.C. in June 2011. Things are going well! I am happy to be practicing in my home town and plan to stay here. I practice family law, estate planning, criminal misdemeanors, contract disputes. I also represent one of the city’s home owners associations.”

If you live in the Owasso/Tulsa, Oklahoma area, please contact Kacie for further info on this topic. ( Tell her “Stuff I Tell My Sister” sent you! ) To view Kacie’s Facebook page, click here:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cresswell-Merritt-PLLC/181420168580555

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5 Responses to Last Will and Testament or Trust?

  1. This advice is so important. Not only do we have a family Trust and Advanced Care Directives, but we even went so far as to plan and pay for our burials with all the plans in place. I know….you think only older people need to worry about these things, but we aren’t all guaranteed to live to 100. Very few of us know where we will be living at the time of our death, but we found most burial policies allow you to move to other areas, and other Mortuaries, and the policies are still in force. At the time of grief, your loved ones aren’t in any condition to make all these decisions, or even know your wishes. Another thing to think about: if you or your husband are Veterans you can be buried at a Veteran’s Cemetery with no cost. In fact both of us can be buried together, even though I am not a Vet. It’s hard to face the fact of our own demise…but we all know it will happen, and as difficult as it is to make ourselves take care of these depressing legal chores….it truly is a gift to your family. Good for you Paula, for calling this to the attention of your Blog followers.

  2. renae says:

    The topic that no one wants to discuss. Glad you have brought it to everyone attention and to Kacie for taking the time to simplify the options available. Thanks to all!

  3. Pingback: The Addendum ~ Last Words | stuff i tell my sister

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