1. A Will States What to Do with Your Property When You Die
A Will is a legal document that directs what happens to your property when you die. Your Will can instruct your personal property and real estate to be given to specific family, friends, organization or charity.
2. You Can Write a Will if You are 18 and of Sound Mind
Anyone in Oklahoma over the age of eighteen (18) years of age can write a Will. You must also be of sound mind. Sound mind is defined as knowing what property you own, its approximate worth, and whom you want to leave it too.
3. A Will Should put Someone You Trust in Charge of Your Estate
When you create your Will, you should name an Executor. If you do not name an Executor, the Court will name one for you whom you may not want. The Executor is the person (or entity in some cases) that will handle your affairs after you die. The Executor responsibilities typically include collecting any money owed to you, paying any of your debts, distributing your property as you direct in your Will and other duties that are needed to close your estate.
4. Your Friends Cannot Inherit from You Unless You State It
A non-relative cannot inherit anything from you under Oklahoma Law unless you put it in your Will or other Estate Planning method of transfer. This means if you want a friend to receive a certain piece of personal property because you share memories, they cannot receive it unless you specifically leave it to them in your Will.
5. Your Spouse is Getting at Least Half
You cannot disinherit your Spouse in Oklahoma. Regardless of your Will, your spouse will get the larger of the value of the property you left in your will or half of the property acquired during your marriage.
6. You Can Disinherit Your Kids
You can disinherit a child or children but you must specifically state you do not want them to receive anything.
7. You Should Name a Guardian for Your Kids
You should name a preferred Guardian to take responsibility of your minor children if you die with minor children. If you leave behind a minor child and did not name a preferred Guardian, the Court will appoint a Guardian on its own.
8. Handwritten Wills are Valid
You can hand write a Will in Oklahoma. A handwritten Will is called a Holographic Will. In order to be valid, it must be entirely in your handwriting and include a date and your signature. The risk of writing your own Will is your Will needs to have clear instructions of how to dispose of your property. If a Will is written poorly, it can cause more problems that if you died without a Will. You may also omit important things in your Will such as the Executor duties and the posting of a bond that a lawyer would make sure are covered.
9. Your Will Does Not Cover all Property
A Will does not cover all property. Wills in Oklahoma do not cover property that is owned in Joint Tenancy. This is often a home or vehicles. Wills also do not cover Life Insurance Policies or many Investment Accounts that have a named beneficiary. This means that even if your Will says you want money to go to a specific person, if the account has a beneficiary listed, the name of the beneficiary will usually over-ride the Will. It is important to keep your beneficiaries updated when writing a new Will.