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How to Write a Last Will and Testament in Oklahoma
A last will and testament forms the base of estate planning for most of us. It is a legal instrument which you use to declare who will receive your estate, the portion they get or the exact item they will receive upon your passing. It also declares the person responsible for managing your estate upon your demise. The will communicates your wishes, and as long as no one challenges your declaration in the will, the courts respect it.
The best part is that even though you get to download a free Oklahoma last will and testament form online at no cost, no will has a one shoe-fit-all make. Your wishes matter and you could have a simple or a complex will.
Simple wills: though they are not as simple as we are made to believe, they communicate your wish to pour all your estates outright to the named beneficiaries without the creation of a protective trust.
The simple wills work well for individuals who don’t have minor kids who’d require guardians or the creation of irrevocable testamentary trusts. A simple is also essential if you do not have adult kids who’d be affected by your divorce or any creditors. You could also use a simple will if you have a simple estate, you do not have estate planning packages for a blended family or a second marriage and if you are certain that your will is not open for challenges.
Other reasons that make the last will viable include the testator (creator of the will) having no qualms about the need to avoid the probate court, and when one is in good health (not worried about mental incapacitation), and when they do not have special needs children.
Complex wills: while the simple will works when you don’t expect complications, the complex will is relevant when you expect will challenges or when you want the will to be used for more than asset distribution.
Cases that warrant the use of the complex will include being a parent to a minor kid where you’d want to set up an irrevocable protective trust or when you have to appoint a guardian for the minor child.
You could also use the free last will and testament in Oklahoma to create trusts for different purposes. These trusts include the special needs trusts for special needs dependent, a dynasty trust to keep your assets in the family, an education trust to accumulate assets or a credit shelter trust for tax planning purposes in large estates. A disclaimer trust shelters named assets for your spouse.
Complex wills also help cover issues that arise from blended families or second families and also essential for business succession plans.
Before we look at the steps you should take when creating your will, let’s look at some other types of wills briefly.
Holographic wills: These wills are entirely handwritten by the testator. It could be simple or complex.
Nuncupative wills: These are oral wills, and they are only valid in some cases.
The state recognizes the nuncupative and the holographic wills only in special conditions.
Creating a will
- Name your executor/ personal representative.
- An executor refers to the person who will manage your estate upon your passing. They will use the money from your estate to pay off debts and taxes and to distribute your assets after the probate court certifies the will and the court appoints them as the official executor of the estate.
- You could either name a single executor, an alternate executor, and co-executors. When naming co-executors, make sure they know that they have to make unanimous decisions.
- Determine the guardianship of your minor/ dependent children
- If you have minor kids, you should indicate in the will how you’d like them cared for and who will be their guardian. By default, a surviving parent is a guardian. However, we recommend specifying your preferred guardian for your children.
- Before appointing someone as a guardian, take into account their age and health status then talk to them about the role. You also need to determine if that person can handle the financial burden or if they can manage the little inheritance you leave your kids.
- And if you have more than one child, make it known if you’d like them to stay together or not. Doing this ensures that your children stay together even when the court has to choose their guardian.
- Name the beneficiaries
Who would you like to be the heir to your estate? Who takes ownership of your home or car? This information will guide the executor once they pay off debts and taxes. Just make sure you assign distribution ratios to simplify the process.
The will must be in writing except in special circumstances where oral/ nuncupative and handwritten or holographic wills are acceptable. Oral wills are valid if they are created during the testator’s last illness. It should be reduced to writing and subscribed to by at least 2 competent adult witnesses, 10 days after you speak your will. The nuncupative will should be submitted to the probate court within 6 months after the death of the testator.
According to code section 84 §41, et seq., the state requires you to be at least 18 years when creating the will, of sound mind, and you should sign the will in the presence of at least 2 witnesses. The will must be in writing.
Changing a will
You require a codicil to change your will legally. A codicil is an amendment of the law.
Revoking a will
The execution of a subsequent last will, the destruction of the will voluntarily, or divorce after the execution of the will revokes the power of the document.
What happens if you don’t have a will when you die?
- The state invokes intestacy laws to facilitate the distribution of the assets of a decedent. Under these laws:
- The surviving spouse would inherit the entire estate unless the couple shared kids where the kids will inherit half of the estate.
- And if you are survived by a spouse but no kids, parents of the decedent inherit part of the property.
- But in the absence of a spouse, parents, or kids, the estate goes to the next immediate relative; siblings and grandparents.
Note that you cannot name joint property, proceeds from life insurance, elective shares, or the homestead in the list of assets for distribution.
Does it feel like the prime to create a will? Well, get our free last will and testament forms whether you are in Tulsa, Lawton, Norman, Oklahoma City, Edmond, or any other city in the state.