There are several reasons to have a will or trust. Most importantly, having a will or a trust allows you to decide who will receive your property rather than leaving that choice to state law.
Having a will allows you to choose your personal representative – otherwise known as an executor under your Will. Without a will, the court could appoint someone as an Executor other than a person you would choose.
Having a probate avoidance Trust allows you to avoid the probate court system altogether provided your Trust is created and funded properly.
Equally important, if you have minor children you can name their guardian in your will or trust. Your selection of a guardian is not binding on a court, but the court will give strong consideration to your selection. Without a will or trust, the court may appoint a guardian other that the person you would have chosen.
Finally, if you should pass away without a Will or Trust (otherwise referred to as an ‘intestate estate’), here are the general rules of how your estate will be distributed under Oklahoma law:
If you die leaving a surviving spouse and children, your spouse takes one-half of your estate, and your children split the remaining one-half in equal shares. If you die leaving a surviving spouse and no children, your spouse takes one-half of your estate, and your parents share the remaining one-half.
If you die single but have children, your children take your entire estate in equal shares. If you die single with no children, your parents take your entire estate.
If your children are minors, your surviving spouse, in order to use their portion of your estate for their support or education, would either have to be appointed guardian of the children by the court or have someone else appointed, give a statutory bond, make annual accountings to the guardianship court and obtain the court’s permission for many routine transactions. Thus, in this incidence not having a Will results in considerable expense being passed on to you.