If a person passes away in Oklahoma without an adequate estate plan, established Oklahoma probate laws will determine how the person’s estate is divided. Despite this fact, many people pass away without creating adequate estate plans. 

If you have created an estate plan, however, it is often not the case that there are no additional steps to take. The following will break down some important strategies you should utilize to further strengthen your estate plan.

Keep Beneficiary Designations Up to Date

Probate is a costly and lengthy process, but there are fortunately some types of accounts that can be passed on without having to go through this process. Instead, these assets are passed in terms of beneficiary designations. As far as beneficiary designations are concerned, it is often possible to divide accounts. 

It is often a good idea to review these forms every few years particularly after major events like births, deaths, or divorces occur. By making sure that your beneficiary designations are up to date, you can make sure that your assets properly transferred to your loved ones.

Utilize Life Insurance 

Life insurance exists for several reasons including to protect against the loss of income in case someone passes away unexpectedly. If you are financially responsible for your loved ones, it is vital to have life insurance. 

In addition to protecting your loved ones against lost income, life insurance can be used to pass on assets without passing certain taxes on to the next generation. It is worth considering if the purchase of life insurance could further strengthen your existing estate plan.

Avoid the Probate Process

Part of the estate planning process is making sure that you have adequate tools in place. While most people need a will, not everyone needs a trust. For some people, the costs associated with creating a trust outweigh the advantage of passing on trusts in this manner. 

If a person does decide to create a trust, the question then becomes whether a revocable or irrevocable trust is best. A person can fund revocable trusts with assets and still use these assets without changing their taxability. Conversely, irrevocable trusts can be utilized to protect assets from creditors. 

Consider Charitable Giving

Many people give to charities on an annual basis. Charitable giving is often preferable to other methods because this way you can also hold onto any assets that you might need to support yourself. By utilizing charitable giving, you can give gifts outright to charities or establish a charitable remainder annuity trust to provide income to surviving family members with the remainder passing on to charities. 

Some people even establish charitable remainder annuity trusts at death by passing on an IRA, which can be beneficial in generating income for a loved one.

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Creating the best estate plan possible is not easy. If you need help navigating this process, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney like Jim A Lyon today.