Let a Tulsa Oklahoma Trust Attorney Protect Your Estate
A trust can be an invaluable tool for protecting the value of your estate. Revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts are legally classified as express trusts for a simple reason: they express a person’s intentions with respect to their property. The difference between the two most common forms of a trust is just as plain: a person can reclaim their assets from a revocable trust, but an irrevocable trust is just that — irrevocable.
The purposes of various trusts are self-evident, but choosing and creating a trust that will accomplish your financial goals can be anything but plain and simple. That’s when people turn to a Tulsa Oklahoma trust attorney for counsel.
An experienced trust attorney can advise you about important questions to consider before locking your assets into a trust. For a free consultation with an Oklahoma trust lawyer, call Wirth Law Office at 918-879-1681.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trusts in Oklahoma
Do I have to hire an attorney?
No, you can establish a trust on your own. A public notary can sign and stamp a trust document.
A notary, however, does not examine the document to assure that it complies with Oklahoma trust law, or to ensure that all the required boilerplate language is in place and up to date. It’s not the notary’s job to represent your interests, nor to provide legal advice.
Online services offer standardized trust forms, and some even provide free how-to advice on drafting a will and other estate planning activities. The best of the free sites include an important caveat. If you have enough assets to warrant protecting their disposition with a trust, you probably have both the resources and the need for a qualified trust attorney to ensure that your trust instrument embodies your expressed intentions while protecting your assets from unforeseen consequences.
Can creditors get assets from my trust?
The law varies, but a revocable trust does not shield your assets from creditors or a divorcing spouse. Revocable trusts are often created to avoid probate — the legal speed-bump that can delay distribution of assets. Unlike in probate proceeding, creditors can often file claims against some trusts indefinitely.
Oklahoma legislators in 2004 adopted a unique law for Oklahomans interested in preserving their wealth. The Oklahoma Family Wealth Preservation Trust Act allows creation of either revocable or irrevocable trusts in which up to $1 million in assets can be placed, safe from claims by creditors. The assets held in an Oklahoma Preservation Trust must be Oklahoma assets, such as Oklahoma real estate or stock in an Oklahoma company.
Who Can Be a Trustee
Again, the law varies. You can be trustee of your own revocable trust, but you must name someone to follow you as trustee if you are deceased or incapacitated.
A trustee can have either an active or an inactive role. An active trustee may be charged to invest assets and disperse income. In an inactive role, a trustee’s job may simply be to hold title of property until a minor child reaches a certain age.
In an Oklahoma Preservation Trust — affectionately called a “spendthrift trust” in some quarters — only a bank or a trustee can be a beneficiary. The bank or trust company must either be chartered in Oklahoma or be federally chartered and have a location in Oklahoma. Trust attorneys recommend successor trustees be named in preservation trusts, so a qualified corporation will be in line to act as the trustee if a primary trustee no longer meets statutory requirements.
What is a Charitable Trust?
Charitable trusts provide legal mechanisms to facilitate philanthropic goals unique from private express trusts. Unlike private trusts which must name definite beneficiaries, charitable trusts must favor a large group of indefinite beneficiaries.
A specific charity may be designated as a beneficiary, but a charitable trust may not benefit a identifiable individuals. A specific political party may not be designated as a beneficiary, but disseminating particular political views may be charitable.
If a designated charity ceases to exist, a court may direct proceeds of a charitable trust as closely as possible to the intentions of the person who established the trust. Unlike a private expressed trust, a charitable trust may last forever, unlimited by the rules against perpetuities that limit private trusts.
If you would like a free consultation with an Oklahoma lawyer about a revocable trust, irrevocable trust, Oklahoma Family Wealth Preservation Trust, charitable trust, or other trust, call Wirth Law Office at 918-879-1681.
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