ABOUT LAW FIRM
Welcome To Grant Estate Law, LLC
Grant Estate Law, LLC provides a lawyer who works with you, your family, and your professional advisors to establish a plan for the money and property you have spent your life earning and protecting. Together, we will examine relevant estate planning law and design a plan that provides for who and what is most important to you.
Meet Attorney Chase Grant
What Happens Without An Estate Plan?
What happens when a loved one can no longer handle their own finances or maintain proper medical care for themselves? What happens when someone dies without leaving any instructions behind? Who can step in? What is the process for appointing someone to do those things? How long does it take? How much will it cost? What will happen while the process plays out? These are difficult questions to think about. Unfortunately, these are the questions faced by families every single day. Our lives can change in an instant. Without some form of an estate plan, families are faced with some of the following choices.
Fortunately, an experience Estate Planning Attorney will help you and/or your loved ones answer all of these questions during these difficult times. Call Grant Estate Law LLC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at (405) 455-3599 to start designing your estate plan.
Disability, Illnesses or Incapacity
Documents such as a Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA Authorization, and Advance Directive (also known as a Living Will) are legal documents stating who you would like to appoint to carry out certain should you become unable to do them yourself. We call these people “agents” of the person granting the power. These documents can provide families with answers instead of questions when life decides to throw a curveball.
Last Will and Testament
In Oklahoma, when a person dies with a valid Last Will and Testament, it MUST go through court proceedings to enforce the terms of that will. A person who dies with a valid Will is said to have died testate.
If a person dies without a Will, or intestate, the estate will be administered through the court similarly to the procedures required when a Will exists. The main difference is that the property under an intestate estate will be distributed according to Oklahoma Intestacy Law and generally is distributed to the blood relatives of the decedent.
For example: If Adam dies with a Will that leaves his estate to his surviving spouse Eve, Eve will be required to submit Adam’s Will to probate. After finishing the required procedures and resolving any issues, the Court would approve the transfer of the estate to Eve in accordance with Adam’s Will.
However, if Adam dies WITHOUT a Will (Intestate), then Eve must petition the Court to administer Adam’s estate. Again, after finishing the required procedures and resolving issues, the Court will approve the transfer of Adam’s estate. However, the important distinction here is the Court will transfer the estate to Adam’s heirs according to the law.
Taking this example further, assume Adam died leaving behind Eve and their child, John. Under the law for Intestate Succession in Oklahoma, Eve would be entitled to one-half of the estate. This means that if Adam had a bank account titled only in his name, the law would require half of the account to be distributed to Eve and the other half to John. This same result would repeat itself with ALL property subject to Adam’s estate. This could include the family home or any other real property titled only in Adam’s name.
In short, the Court will do its best to follow the terms included in your Will if you have one. If you do not have a Will, the court will follow the rules listed under Title 84 Oklahoma Statutes Sec. 213(B) and distribute the property accordingly.
How to Avoid Probate?
Avoiding unnecessary trips to the Courthouse is one of the primary functions of your Estate Plan. The key to avoiding probate is to have a plan for what happens to your money and property when/if something tragic happens to you.
Common examples of types of property that can require Probate include the following:
- Real Property (land, house, commercial building, minerals, etc.)
- Accounts (checking, savings, retirement, etc.)
- Life Insurance proceeds.
Common tools for planning around probate include the following:
- the use of beneficiary designations, payable on death (POD)
- transfer on death (TOD) assignments
- titling the property in Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS).
If you have questions about probate in Oklahoma or require guidance with a current case, call an experienced Probate Lawyer at (405) 455-3599.
What Can An Estate Plan Do For You?
The first step in your Estate Plan should include documents that aid in managing your affairs in the event you become incapacitated (i.e. mentally/physically unable to make decisions). These include:
• Financial Power of Attorney
• Medical Power of Attorney
• HIPAA Waiver
• Advance Directive for Healthcare (aka “Living Will”) Read More
Creating a trust can help avoid the requirement of going through the Court to distribute someone's property and money to their heirs. The most common way this is accomplished is by using a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) to ``own`` your property. Then, the terms of the Trust control how the assets owned by it are distributed to your beneficiaries. Those terms can dictate that the property is to remain ``in trust`` for the benefit of your beneficiary, be distributed outright to them as soon as Read More
Asset Protection is the process of protecting money and property from creditors. In general, this must be done BEFORE the creditor makes a claim. The most common creditors faced include:
• Lien Holders
• Credit Card Companies Read More
Estates valued over a certain threshold may be subject to Federal Estate tax. The current exemption threshold for 2021 is $11.7M per person or $23.4M for a married couple. This amount currently subjects less than 1% of estates in the US to Estate Tax. However, this exemption is set to expire on its own in 2026, and the current political environment seems poised to make a change in this area before then. The current rate is 40% tax on all assets over the exemption threshold amount ($11.7M/23.4M). Read More
As the law is currently written, less than 1% of people will need Estate/Gift Tax Planning. Asset Protection will impact most families at some point. However, 100% of people should know who will be responsible for taking care of them and their loved ones in the event that they cannot. Incapacity Planning packages can be useful for ANY family in ANY financial circumstances.
How Do I Separate My Business From My Personal Assets?
Do you own a business or planning to start one? In order to protect your personal assets, it is best to separate your business property from your personal property. An expert Business Formation & Planning Attorney at Grant Estate Law, LLC can help you draft and file the documents to protect all your assets. Call (405) 455-3599 today for a consultation .
Frequently Asked Questions
A - If you already have an Estate Plan, Grant Estate Law will review it for free. The review includes a summary of the people currently appointed to serve as your Trustee(s) and Agent(s) as well as the distribution plan for your property.
In general, you should have your Estate Plan reviewed by a licensed attorney every two to three (2-3) years to make sure the people you have named in those documents are still who you trust to serve in the roles you appointed them, whether as your Trustee, Financial Power of Attorney, or Medical Power of Attorney. In practice, most people review their documents when a “significant life event” happens. These commonly include the birth of grandchildren, retirement from full-time work, and illness or death of a relative/friend.
A - By making sure the things you own have a plan. Property such as your home, other land or mineral interests, life insurance proceeds paid to the estate, and suspended royalty payments from oil/gas leases are common reasons estates are forced to go through Probate.
Methods for avoiding Probate include titling property in the name of your Trust or using Payable On Death (POD) or Beneficiary designations to transfer ownership of property automatically at death. One way to think about a Revocable Living Trust is to compare it to a Will that simply doesn’t need to go through Probate.