Residents of Oklahoma may have put off estate planning for a variety of reasons. However, creating an estate plan can be beneficial to both the creator of the plan and his or her children. After all, not all deaths are gradual. For example, a sudden car accident can lead to personal and financial turmoil if there is no estate plan in place to address one’s wishes should they become incapacitated or die.
In general there are several steps one should take when creating an estate plan. First of all, a person should have an organized and accessible list of emergency information. This includes not only information about physicians and phone numbers, but also a record of one’s financial accounts and advisors, a record of one’s digital assets, information regarding any storage facilities that are being rented and contact information for one’s attorney.
Second, individuals may want to include two common types of documents in their estate plans– wills and trusts. By having a clear plan in place with regards to how to pass down one’s property, one can reduce the conflicts that may arise if these documents were not in place.
Third, it may also be useful to name someone as a durable power of attorney. This individual will be able to make legal decisions for a person should that person be incapacitated and unable to make such decisions on their own. Many people would prefer to name someone to such an important position, rather than leaving the matter up to the court. Similarly, an advance medical directive can be created so that the creator’s end-of-life choices are clear.
Finally, another important step that adult children and their parents may want to take is having an open discussion about their parents’ monetary situation and estate planning goals. Without having had such a discussion, the adult children could face many difficulties should their parents suddenly become incapacitated or pass away due to a catastrophic event.
These are only some steps a person may want to consider taking when undergoing the estate planning process. This post cannot replace the advice of a personal attorney. Individuals wondering how to start the estate planning process should seek the legal help they need to proceed.
Source: Forbes, “6 Essential Estate Planning Steps For You And Your Parents,” Terrie and Jon Hull, June 25, 2015