No one likes to think about their death; however, estate planning is essential to make sure that your family is protected and that your property is distributed according to your wishes and not Oklahoma’s intestate laws. The death of a loved one is very difficult for the family. When you die without a will in Oklahoma, problems settling the estate can quickly add to the grief and despair for the family. Without experienced estate planning assistance from a qualified attorney, you may leave your family dealing with a stressful financial burden in addition to the pain of losing you.
What are the top reasons to have a will?
A will is a legal document that specifies what you want to happen to your estate upon your death. Having a will ensures that your wishes will be carried out after you die by:
- Specifying how your property is to be distributed and who will receive certain items.
- Naming a guardian and/or trustee for your minor children to manage the assets they may inherit as well as provide for their physical care and needs.
- Electing an executor for the estate who will have the responsibility of safeguarding your estate by carrying out your wishes, taking care of financial affairs and distributing assets according to the instructions in your will.
What does intestate mean?
If you die without a will in Oklahoma, it is considered dying “intestate.” Intestate simply means that you do not have a valid will. When you die without a will in Tulsa, your property will be distributed according to Oklahoma’s intestate laws. In other words, the state will decide how your property is to be divided and who will receive your property. Your family will have no control over this decision. This is why it is imperative that you contact an experienced Tulsa probate attorney to discuss estate planning and drafting a will. You are never too young to take steps to protect your loved ones after you are gone. Do not leave your loved ones to deal with the stress of dealing with state intestate succession laws after you have passed away.
Who gets my property if I die without a will in Oklahoma?
If you die without a will in Oklahoma, your property will be distributed according to our intestate laws. Several factors will determine how your property will be distributed, such as whether or not you were married at the time of your death and if you have any living children.
While it is impossible to cover every situation that may arise in an intestate situation, we can give you a few examples.
- You are married with children at the time of your death – Your spouse will inherit one-half of your estate and the remaining one-half will be divided equally among your children.
- You are married with no children at the time of your death – In this case, your wife inherits all of the marital property and one-third of any other property you may have owned at the time of your death. The remaining two-thirds of your estate will be distributed to your closest relatives beginning with parents, then siblings and so forth.
- You are not married but you have children – Your estate will be divided equally among your children. If a child predeceased you, his or her share will be distributed to his or her children.
In the event that you die without a will in Tulsa and have no living relatives, your property would be transferred to the state. However, Oklahoma intestate laws are written in a way that this rarely happens. They are designed to distribute the estate to a relative of some type, no matter how remote the relation. For example, if you have no children, your wife predeceased you and your parents and siblings are dead, your property could be distributed to your niece or nephew or a cousin that is the closest living relative at the time of your death.
Most people do not like the idea that their property could revert to the state or that the state would direct who receives property and in what amount after their death. Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening, you must draft a will so that you can be in control of how your estate is distributed. Contact our Tulsa will drafting attorney to discuss how you can prevent the state from stepping in after your death to determine who inherits your estate.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Tulsa
When you need the services of an experienced estate planning attorney, call Oklahoma Will & Trust. Tulsa Estate Attorney Earl D. Lawson has the experience and knowledge to assist you with all of your estate planning and probate needs. As a skilled Tulsa estate planning attorney, Earl D. Lawson knows the advantages of protecting your estate and ensuring that your wishes are followed.
Contact an experienced Tulsa estate planning attorney today for a free consultation about the best approach to protecting your legacy. Call (918) 876-4500 to schedule your free consultation. We are conveniently located at 201 W. Fifth Street, Suite 404 in Tulsa, OK.