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Dec 31

Oklahoma Estate Planning

Proper Estate planning is for everyone. Anyone can become disabled at any time. Oklahoma Estate planning is about making certain YOUR wishes are followed.

"While I am living I want to control my stuff. If I become disabled I want to take care of myself and my loved ones. I want to give what I want, to whom I want, when I want."

We know that each individual and family is unique. That is why we take time, at the beginning of each relationship, to sit down and visit with you regarding your goals and dreams. And, to carefully listen to your worries and fears. We are proud to provide each client personal representation and individual attention.

Estate planning is a topic that may seem intimidating. It's not! The Cortes Law Firm can help you make it easy and straightforward for when the time comes. We provide high-quality legal representation with your best interests in mind to ensure things go smoothly, including: wills, trusts, power of attorney, guardianships and more. We offer free consultations so contact us today to get started with estate planning!

We call this Client-Centered Estate Planning.

The goal for Cortes Law Firm is to develop long-term relationships with you, so that your wishes become the key objective of your estate plan. We want to ensure that everything in your life will be taken care of and you can rest assured knowing that all decisions are in good hands. To learn more about our services, follow this link or contact us today by phone. Whether it's probate planning, wills and trusts, or business succession planning we are here to help you.

Revocable Living Trust

This is the most important part of Client-Centered Estate Planning. Together with the documents below, a revocable living trust can be easily changed during your life. You retain total control of the assets in the trust. If you become disabled, then your Disability Trustee provides continuity in taking care of your affairs and loved ones.

Many people think that estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Estate planning can help to protect assets and ensure your legacy will last long after you are gone.


Pour Over Will

A pour over will is just a fancy name for a Last Will and Testament when it is part of client-centered estate plan. The goal of having a revocable living trust is to put ALL of your assets in the Trust. However, sometimes a person will forget to title an asset in the name of the trust. It is not ideal, but when this happens the Pour Over Will with a probate proceeding transfers (pours) the asset into the Trust. The Pour Over Will also plays a very important role for parents by naming guardians for minor children.


Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney grants an agent or "attorney-in-fact" the power to manage assets outside a trust during incapacity. 

A power of attorney is a document that gives an agent power to do something for or on behalf of another person, the "principal," who grants power.

Power of attorney laws vary from state to state. The power given in a power of attorney may be broad and far-reaching, such as in a general power of attorney, which allows the agent almost unlimited authority, so long as it does not conflict with any other fiduciary duty owed by the agent under local law.

Alternately, the power may be narrow and specific: for example, one power to sell tangible personal property and another to transfer stock.

A durable power of attorney allows an agent to make decisions when the person who granted power is no longer able to do so, if they lose the ability to make informed decisions due to illness or disability. It can also be referred to as a power of attorney that lasts "even if I lose my capacity." This power continues even after the principal becomes incapacitated and overrides any other power of attorney document that may have been created earlier.

A power of attorney grants an agent power to do something for the principal. A power of attorney must be in writing, signed by the person granting power, and properly notarized. It may also be witnessed or verified.

Some states require that a power of attorney contain specific language for it to be durable , but others will simply presume that any power granted is durable unless specifically stated otherwise.

A power of attorney ends either by revocation of the principal while he or she still has legal capacity, or the death of either party.


Health Care Power of Attorney

This is similar to a durable power of attorney, but grants an agent or "health care power of attorney" the power to make medical decisions. To be truly effective this should be used with a living will and HIPAA authorization.

Health care power of attorney may be used to give an agent the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you become unable or unwilling to make those decisions yourself. Health care powers of attorney are often called "proxy directives" because they allow someone else (your "agent" or "health care proxy") to make health care decisions on your behalf in a manner that's very similar to how a durable power of attorney designates a person who can manage your financial affairs when you cannot.

Health Care Powers of Attorney must comply with specific requirements under State law in order to be valid and binding. Health care powers of attorney may be made effective only under certain conditions, such as when you are in an irreversible coma from which recovery is unlikely.

Health care power of attorney can be very useful if your family members aren't able to make health-care decisions for you or don't agree about what your wishes would have been on a particular treatment option. Health care powers of attorney often give the person designated as your agent great flexibility to decide how best to proceed with medical treatment based on available information and his or her own understanding of your wishes. It's important that you discuss these issues with friends or relatives who could serve this role before it becomes necessary, so they understand what types of treatments you would have wanted. Health-care providers may also seek advice from a family member or friend who was involved in making health care decisions for you before acting on the power of attorney directive.


Advanced Directive

An advanced directive or "living will" provides your health care power of attorney and medical professionals end of life guidance for your wishes.

An advanced directive, or living will, is a written document that lets people state their wishes about their medical treatment when they can no longer communicate. It provides guidance to your health care agent and medical providers about the type of treatments you would want in the event you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

The advanced directive can include specific instructions about end-of-life choices including whether a person wants to continue with life support technology such as artificial ventilation or intubation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, feeding tubes and hydration tubes. The advanced directive may also include provisions regarding pain management and other specific medical treatments.

Your advanced directive will be most effective if you:

  1. Specify your wishes about medical treatment
  2. Keep the advanced directive up to date with your current desires and beliefs
  3. Discuss your advanced directives with family and friends who may serve as your health care power of attorney

Living wills are legal in every state, but certain states have additional requirements. For example, some states require that advanced directives meet certain language requirements or be notarized before they will be recognized by health care providers.


HIPAA Authorization

A HIPAA authorization grants someone (usually your Trustee and Health Care Power of Attorney) the power to access your medical records and talk with your medical providers.

There may be times where you want a partner or spouse to be able to reach your medical provider and get information about how you are doing while in the hospital. If so, then complete the HIPAA representative form so that your family member can access your medical records if necessary. Your designated HIPAA representative will be able to speak with medical providers for important information regarding your health.


Trust Funding

Trust funding involves titling all of your assets in the name of your Trust. If you forget to transfer an asset (including bank accounts and real property), then your heirs will need to probate the Pour Over Will to move the asset into the Trust for distribution. Trust funding is extremely important for client-centered Oklahoma estate planning.


Real Estate

Your real estate should be titled in the name of your Trust. We help our clients with the necessary documents to title their real property correctly.

Title Real Estate into Trust. Real estate is a great asset that must be titled in the name of your Trust. We help our clients with the necessary documents to title their real property correctly.