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Everyone should have a will. A will can sometimes be enough on its own, depending on the assets that are left behind by a person. If assets such as real property, bank accounts, or anything that carries a title or a deed are left in one person’s name alone, then they will have to go through probate. That means that an estate with no assets in the decedent’s name that carry a title or a deed could avoid probate. Things such as the guardianship of their minor child could be taken care of by a will, and that is just an example of how a will could impact an estate differently.

What Is The Most Common Type of Trust, And What Is Its Purpose?

The most common type of trust in Oklahoma is the revocable living trust. Oklahoma law provides for any assets subject to an estate to be required to go through the probate process. In other words, any assets that are subject to a title or a deed must go through probate. A revocable living trust, however, can own these assets and therefore avoid the probate process altogether.

What Protections Do Trusts Offer To My Assets? Are There Limitations To These Trusts?

The protection of your assets varies based on the type of trust. The revocable living trust does not offer any protection from outside creditors or any liability protection. However, an irrevocable trust effectively transfers ownership completely out of the hands of the grantor, or the person making the trust. Therefore, that person can no longer make any decisions regarding the property they transfer into the trust. Assets and property transferred to irrevocable trusts can be completely shielded from outside creditors and liability from lawsuits or other circumstances.

Do I Lose Control Over Any Assets In A Trust?

In a revocable living trust, you do not lose any control. You can change, amend, or revoke your trust at any time, up to the moment you either lose your legal capacity or you die. Under an irrevocable trust, you generally cannot change your trust. However, there are some options that may allow you to undo a trust that no longer serves its purpose.

Can I Change The Terms Of My Trust?

Again, depending on the type of trust that you have, you can typically change it. A revocable living trust is amendable at any time, so long as the required trustees have the capacity to change the trust.

Are Assets Held In A Trust Protected from Creditors In Oklahoma?

Assets held in a revocable living trust are not protected from creditors in Oklahoma. However, assets held in an irrevocable trust may be protected from creditors, depending on the type and time of transfer to the irrevocable trust.

Can Trusts Help Avoid Probate In Oklahoma?

The primary purpose of a revocable living trust is to avoid probate in Oklahoma.

What Is Probate? When Is It Triggered In Oklahoma?

Probate is triggered when an individual dies owning either real property in their own name or an ownership percentage in real property. Individuals can also be subject to probate if they own any financial accounts that do not have a payable on death designation or any other type of life insurance policies or assets that have a beneficiary designation. If no one is listed there, then it will revert to the estate and be required to go through probate.

The probate process starts off, in general, with the filing of a petition that states information about the decedent, including the known heirs of that deceased person. Once a petition is filed, a hearing will be set, typically for 30 days from the date of filing, and a notice of hearing is mailed to all heirs. At the first hearing, the personal representative will be appointed, so long as there is no objection. The creditor claim period begins after the first hearing. It’s open for 60 days, and during that time, any creditors that have claims against the estate are required to submit them, or else they will eventually be barred from collecting any claims.

During the probate process, you can also sell any real property, if necessary. There are two ways of doing this: with consent of all the heirs and without. The process requires court approval and a separate petition.

In order to close the estate, another petition must be filed including a final account showing all receipts and disbursements to and from the estate, including to whom and in what amounts the estate assets should be paid out.

For more information on Need for a Will in the State of Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 455-3599 today.

Chase Grant, Esq.

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