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Estate Planning is a complex process often involving many parties from the settlors of the trust, to the trustees, to the beneficiaries, to the lawyers that work to ensure all the legal requirements and clients desires are perfectly met. After all the process of preparing the documents is finished, comes the process of reviewing the finals documents, and properly executing, witnessing, and notarizing the documents to ensure the legality and longevity of the documents.
There are many concerns when it comes to where, with who, and how to execute your estate and trust documents. There are many intimate and important details in the documents that you do not want viewed by strangers or to be misplaced into the wrong hands. Clients often desire a comfortable setting where they can carefully review their documents and take their time discussing any of their wishes or concerns with their estate planning lawyer. They desire privacy where they do not have to worry about others hearing about their financial, life, and medical status and wishes.
The biggest concerns lawyers, and their clients have, is ensuring that the documents will be properly signed by all parties involved: the signers, the witnesses, and the notaries are often not familiar with the particular documents and procedures that are involved with executing estate planning documents. While many notaries know how to properly execute their section of the document, they are not familiar with what to look for to ensure all dates, initials, and signatures of each of the lengthy documents have been completed prior to notarizing. If these items are missed it can cause a need to redraw and resign all of the documents since they need to be consistent.
Utilizing an experience H2H NOTARY LLC -Virtual Remote Online Notary Public can resolve any issues that can arise while executing and finalizing estate planning documents. Not only does a H2H NOTARY LLC -Virtual Remote Online Notary Public provide the convenience of signing in the primary of your own home, office, or lawyers place of business, but they are often widely experienced in this type of signing, and are often prepared with plenty of supplies to supplement any pages that need to be added in order to properly notarize.
We, at H2H NOTARY LLC, are widely experienced in estate planning document signing, witnessing, and notarizing. We offer low flat rates and the price also includes traveling and witnessing. Since we are experienced in estate document signing we can often get through a couple’s signing of 6+ documents within 20-30 minutes error-free, properly signed, initials, witnessed, and notarized quickly. This is why we offer such low rates, because our experience allows us to get the whole signing done in a time frame that allows us to pass on the saved time in the form of more affordable pricing for our lawyer, and individual clients.
We look forward to the opportunity to assist you with the signing of your, or your clients, estate planning documents, whether it be in their home, your office, or wherever the clients feel most comfortable, we are here to service your needs.
A last will and testament is a written legal document stating what you want to happen to your estate (your “stuff”) after your death.
Here’s a shocking statistic: Only 42% of U.S. adults currently have a will or a trust. That means only 42% of U.S. adults have a say over who gets their “stuff” after they die.
A will also names an executor (a.k.a., an “administrator” or “personal representative”) who manages the probate process after your death.
That last part usually makes a few ears perk up. Yes, contrary to popular belief, a last will and testament is still subject to probate. What is probate, you ask?
Probate is the court process of validating a deceased person’s will, addressing creditors, collecting assets and income, paying estate expenses, and distributing assets to the decedent’s named beneficiaries (or, if none, to their heirs-at-law).
Even the simplest probates can take six months to a year to complete and usually cost at least $4,000. If the probate is contested or challenged by an heir, the cost can be much greater.
Every state has different requirements for a valid will, but under the “Full Faith and Credit” Clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, a will that has been properly created in one state will generally be recognized in another state.
You may have told your family or friends how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. Or maybe you have left a letter of instruction stating who you want to get your “stuff.”
But unless you have a valid will (or other estate planning document), those wishes will not be legally enforceable. Consider, for example:
These are just a few good reasons to have a will. Although a will is subject to probate at your death, it is still an important estate planning document that everyone should have. Without it, the law decides who will receive your assets — you won’t get a say in the matter!
At the very least, make a will to reduce the chance your loved will have to spend time in court fighting over your “stuff” and interpreting your “wishes.”
This is called a “holographic” will, and we actually wrote a blog post about it.
To make a long story short, yes, you can make your own will. However, a holographic will must satisfy strict statutory requirements to be admitted to probate in Oklahoma. These requirements also bring up a lot of questions. For instance:
A mistake in any one of these areas could invalidate the will, in which case the law decides what happens to your “stuff.”
There are other, more practical problems with a handwritten will. A court may misinterpret part of your will and distribute assets in a way you did not intend. Heirs may interpret the will differently and spend thousands of dollars fighting over it.
And if your heirs are all deceased, your estate may even end up being taken by the state.
Everyone should have a last will and testament, if for no other reason than it forces you to decide how you want your estate distributed. However, to keep your heirs from having to endure the expensive and time-consuming probate process, you should consider a living trust or other probate-avoidance techniques.
To learn more about last wills and testament or other estate planning documents, contact the experienced Oklahoma City estate planning attorneys at Postic & Bates for a free, no-obligation consultation appointment.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. I cannot by law, interpret or explain the contents of any documents to you. If you have any important questions about your documents, please contact an attorney or the person who provided the documents to you. You can use these forms at your own risk.
Amendment of Inter Vivos Trust Agreement for Withdrawal of Property from Trust (pdf)Download
Demand for Accounting from a Fiduciary (pdf)Download
Petition to Require Accounting from Testamentary Trustee (pdf)Download
Notice to Trustee of Assignment by Beneficiary of Interest in Trust (pdf)Download
Assignment by Beneficiary of a Percentage of the Income of a Trust (doc)Download
Assignment by Beneficiary of a Percentage of the Income of a Trust (pdf)Download
Certificate of Trust by Corporation (pdf)Download
Certificate of Trust by Individual (pdf)Download
Certificate or Memorandum of Trust Agreement (pdf)Download
Amendment to Living Trust (pdf)Download
Assignment to Living Trust (pdf)Download
Financial Account Transfer to Living Trust (pdf)Download
Letter to Lienholder to Notify of Trust (pdf)Download
Heirship Affidavit - Descent (pdf)Download
The idea of estate planning can be intimidating to some; that’s understandable. But planning your estate is an absolute necessity in the event that anything should happen to you that results in your death. Having an estate plan in place absolves your family members and heirs from future legal woes and saves them a trip to probate court. Keep in mind that an estate plan comes in handy prior to passing away. A properly put together estate plan should also include provisions that will allow family members to access monies and assets should you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. While some people think that an estate plan simply means drafting your last will and testament, it is much more than that. Everything should be outlined in your estate plan. However daunting, it doesn’t have to be this all-consuming task that requires extreme effort. Creating an estate planning checklist can streamline the process so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Now that you have asked yourself some of these questions and are starting to understand that planning an estate is much more than drafting a simple will, let’s begin creating your checklist that you can go over with your estate planning lawyer
A last will and testament is a legal document that carries out the wishes of the deceased or for someone that has become unable to speak for themselves. The last will and testament clearly outlines, in detail, how assets will be allocated. It will list out how things like property, cars, or tangible possessions and investments shall be dispersed, as well as any monies that were remaining after death.Your will and testament will take care of any property that must be probated. It will also address custody and care of any minors and who the executor of your estate will be. This legal document should also outline how any debts or back taxes should be paid so that a smooth transition is achieved.California estate planning suggests that you create a ‘pour-over’ will that can be used in conjunction with a revocable living trust, in addition to your last will and testament. Be sure to ask your estate planning attorney about revocable trusts and living wills.
No matter the circumstance, one of the first steps to estate planning is to assemble a list of assets. This is such an important part of the process that there are computer programs that can help you keep everything organized and make it easier. You can always opt to use an Excel spreadsheet so that you can add to your list of assets in the future. Remember to back up any digital documents and even print out a hard copy to keep in a safe for your records. Some things you should list as assets are…
Try to complete as much of the inventory as possible.
It is extremely important that you name a beneficiary and even a secondary beneficiary should something happen to your first appointee and they are unable to accept the responsibility. If a beneficiary or beneficiaries aren’t listed, then your assets and estate go to a probate judge that is likely not to understand your wishes or the personal dynamics of your family and relationships.Keep in mind that a number of possessions are able to be passed along to your heirs without being outlined in the will, like a 401k for instance. That’s another reason why naming beneficiaries for each and every facet of your estate is essential. Any insurance plans should also have a beneficiary listed as well. This is also a great time to address guardianship of any minors that were under your custody at time of death or incident.
Granting someone power of attorney (POA) essentially puts them in charge of your financial matters and will prevent courts from getting involved in your estate. This responsibility should only be given to someone you trust with your life, literally. In some states, you may be advised to fill out an official financial power of attorney form so that it clearly outlines who has power of attorney. Not only will the person you choose have control over your assets, but they will also be responsible for paying any lingering bills, taxes, and debts
You may want to consider appointing a health care power of attorney that can oversee and make decisions regarding your health care should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Your healthcare power of attorney is able to have total access to your medical records. In this legal document, you should detail your last wishes and any ‘do not resuscitate’ (DNR) instructions.
Even with all of your ducks in a row, you could be missing something that only a trained and experienced legal eye can catch. Don’t get stuck in a situation where you don’t have all of your bases covered. There are law firms that specialize in estate planning and can answer any federal tax questions, recommend a responsible fiduciary, and help make your last will and testament legally binding and thorough.Estate planning lawyers can also help you sort out any real estate dealings, stock portfolios, and savings that you want to be allocated to the proper parties. Consider enlisting the help of a professional estate planning attorney as an added layer of protection so that your family and heirs can put their energies to grieving in peace.
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Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. I cannot by law, interpret or explain the contents of any documents to you. If you have any important questions about your documents, please contact an attorney or the person who provided the documents to you.
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