Probate can be a lengthy, costly, and complicated process for your loved ones. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid probate in Oklahoma. In this blog post, we’ll discuss two popular methods: transfer-on-death plans and trusts.
Transfer-on-Death Plans: The Simplest Option
The simplest way to avoid probate in Oklahoma with the least amount of time and money involved is through transfer-on-death (TOD) plans, also known as pay-on-death or POD. TOD plans allow you to name beneficiaries for your assets, such as bank accounts, real estate, and stocks, while you’re still alive. When you pass away, the assets are automatically transferred to your beneficiaries, without the need for probate.
TOD plans are simple to set up and can be a great option if you only have a few assets to transfer. To set up a TOD plan, you’ll need to contact your bank, broker, or other financial institution and request a TOD designation form. Once you fill out the form and name your beneficiaries, you’ll need to return it to the institution.
TOD Plans, while simple to execute, are not always the best choice, because they don’t account for very many contingencies. If the beneficiary you name predeceases you, or becomes incapacitated before you die, they won’t be able to claim the property, and either a probate or guardianship process will likely become necessary.
A Transfer-on-Death deed can be a great way to avoid probate, but they too are not without their issues. The property must be claimed by the beneficiary of the deed within 9 months of the death of the person who creates the deed (the “Grantor”), or the deed will no longer work, and the property will revert back to the Grantor’s estate, which means the family is back in probate!
TOD plans are simple, but they are blunt instruments, and to work correctly, everything “has to go wrong the right way”.
Trusts: The Best Way to Avoid Probate in Oklahoma
One of the most effective ways to avoid probate in Oklahoma is through trusts. A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person appoints a Trustee to manage property for the benefit of another person, known as the beneficiary. Trusts can hold all kinds of assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, and stocks, and can be either irrevocable or revocable.
You can set up your own trust, be your own trustee, and be your own beneficiary. But if you die, the trustees and the beneficiaries change without needing to go to court.
The main advantage of trusts here is that they allow assets to pass outside of probate. This means that your beneficiaries can receive their inheritance quickly and without the costs and delays associated with probate. Additionally, trusts offer other benefits such as incapacity planning and asset protection. Maybe you don’t want your beneficiaries to access assets quickly, but maybe spread out over time while still having protection. A trust is great for that, too!
If you’re considering setting up a trust, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning in Oklahoma. They can help you create a trust that meets your needs and ensure that your assets are protected and passed on to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.
Get Started Today
Avoiding probate in Oklahoma is crucial to ensure that your beneficiaries receive their inheritance without the hassle of probate and in a way that protects them, and protects the assets you’ve worked hard for. Whether you choose to set up a trust or a TOD plan, the key is to start planning early.
If you’re ready to start planning, we recommend consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney in Oklahoma. They can help you determine the best strategy for your unique situation and ensure that your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. Schedule a free Discovery Call with us today. Don’t wait. Take the first step today and ensure that your assets and your privacy are protected for the future.
If you would like to learn about some of the most common misunderstandings in estate planning, and how you can avoid them, click here to download our short guide, The Four Biggest Estate Planning Myths).