The much maligned legal process called probate is required when someone dies with property in their name without a death beneficiary. For example, if someone with a bank account in their name does not name a payable on death beneficiary, the account would still be in their name after death. When the heirs go to the bank, the bank will require that a personal representative be appointed over the decedent’s estate. Then, the bank will release the funds. It is sometimes possible for small accounts to use a Small Estate Affidavit as an alternative to probate.
Real estate owned in someone’s name who later dies is still in the deceased individual’s name after they are dead. It is too late for that person to sign a deed. Probate is required to transfer the title to the heirs or to sell the property. A power of attorney is no help. It terminates upon death.
Probate will either transfer the title of the property to the beneficiaries of the will, if the decedent left a will, or to the legal heirs, if the decedent did not leave a will. Sometimes these individuals are not the beneficiaries the decedent wanted to inherit.
These results and probate may be avoided by using a trust. While it is possible to avoid probate by using joint tenancy or a transfer on death deed, using a trust is usually the best choice.
A revocable trust allows the individual to change their mind. A joint tenancy does not. A trust allows careful succession planning. What if the named joint owner or payable on death beneficiary dies, who should inherit? What if they should become disabled? A trust permits this type of planning.
Probate is slow. Probate can last from several months to several years. It is a time consuming process. A trust can be completed in a short time and the estate distributed by the successor trustee. In probate an attorney=s help is necessary. The probate process is full of rules contained within the law which are hidden from a lay person. There are rules setting time requirements, mailing requirements, publication rules, permitting some steps to be waived if certain consents are filed, etc. The list can go on and on. Suffice it to say, you need an attorney to probate an estate. Brent D. Coldiron has over 34 years experience probating estates. If you have probate questions or need help with a probate give Brent D. Coldiron a call at (405) 478-5655 or (405) 737-2244. He knows what to do.
Attorneys are required to charge by the hour for probate. The bill usually is several thousand dollars. This expense can be avoided by using a revocable trust. It is to you benefit to seek an estate planning consultation with a qualified licensed Oklahoma attorney. Consider the alternatives available to you. Benefit from the years of experience of the attorney.
By all means, avoid the mail and door to door scams seeking to sell you a trust or something of this nature. Some may even actually use an attorney to draw the documents. This attorney usually never makes an office of home visit with you to discuss what you really need. Usually you are charged a substantial fee and given a large cookie cutter book of forms that has your name filled in. I have found clients frustrated with trying to read and understand these type of documents. They contain pages upon pages of boilerplate and seem to go on forever. Often the bequest language is vague and may even lead to litigation or improper actions by the estate representative or trustee.
The proof of the worth of your estate planning documents is do they work. Brent D. Coldiron has authored hundreds of estate plans. They have all worked as they were intended. You want your estate to pass as you wish? You will likely want to avoid probate.
No one wants documents that are difficult to use and understand. You will benefit from the experience of the attorney you chose. For example do you need language in the documents to discourage a contest? What about the best person to act as your successor trustee? You will want your questions answered. You will want an established attorney who can answer your questions.
Let me just say, Brent D. Coldiron, is experienced and qualified. He has practiced law for 34 years and prepared several hundred estate plans for families. He has prepared numerous durable powers of attorney, living wills, advance directives, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, given elder law advice, will and trust contest advice, guardianship advice, family trust and living trust advice and probate advice. He has an excellent reputation. He has offices in Oklahoma City/Edmond and Midwest City.
If you are looking for help with a probate, avoiding probate, a living trust, family trust, revocable trust, irrevocable trust, health directives, durable powers of attorney, living wills and advance directives give Brent D. Coldiron a call at (405) 478-5655 or (405) 737-2244. He knows what to do.