We help clients with the legal effects of a loved one passing away. Sometimes the legal effects are more complicated to solve because the loved one died without a will or an estate plan, thinking they didn’t need one. Below are some of the myths about dying without a will, and why you should have a will or an estate plan.
MYTH #1: My spouse will inherit everything anyway.
When you die without a will, Oklahoma law determines who will inherit your property. The myth the spouse will inherit everything is only true in rare cases in Oklahoma. If you have a spouse and any children, your spouse will not inherit everything by default under Oklahoma law. Your children would also inherit a portion of your assets, including the marital home. If your children are minors, this could add additional complications.
MYTH #2: My spouse will keep the house, so I don’t need a will.
For most clients, there home is the most valuable asset in their estate. As stated above, your spouse may have to share ownership of the home if you die without a will. Your spouse may be able to live in the home, but this right goes away if the home is sold or if your spouse later remarries.
MYTH #3: It is less expensive to die without a will then to get one.
Dying without a will can cause several additional expenses that could be avoided with an estate plan. Additional costs may be incurred determining who will inherit from you and finding them to give them notices and the inheritance. Dying without a will also guarantees a probate or a small estate affidavit, while the costs associated with these filings could be avoided with an estate plan. Dying without a will could cost many times more than getting an estate plan.
MYTH #4: I don’t need a will because I don’t have family to give my assets to.
Some people don’t get a will or an estate plan because they are not married or don’t have children and think there is no need for a will because they “don’t have a family”. The truth is everyone has family they love or someone in their life they love like family. If you die without a will, Oklahoma law assumes who your family is, and may disregard your friends or others you love like family. If your family includes people you chose to be in your family (like your close friends), you should have a will or an estate plan so you can identify who your loved ones are and ensure they can inherit from you.
We’re happy to help you with a custom estate plan to avoid problems caused by believing the above myths. Complete our convenient online and confidential estate planning worksheet now, and we’ll contact you to schedule a free consultation at our offices. For more information on how we can help you get your estate planning done, see Estate Planning Made Easy with Rainey Law, LLP.