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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118648
Experience:  Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
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Dear Sir, I am a resident of Oklahoma. I have my primary

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Dear Sir,

I am a resident of Oklahoma. I have my primary residence and 3 rental properties all paid in full. I have been divorced 2 times and now remarried.

My questions are how to best protect my assets from divorce and still pass my property on to my wife or other family members (sister or nephew) upon my death avoiding probate and other taxes?

I am considering a Transfer on death deed or a Revokeable living trust. Please advise the best way to go. Thanks
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Actually, while most people think using a revocable living trust protects them, it does nothing more than as you said above allows you to make the transfer without probate. However, there are other things besides the transfer without probate that are important, such as protecting the property from liens or seizure or from having to be spent for long term medical care. An irrevocable trust, which is considered a separate entity from you personally, would give you not only the benefit of being able to transfer the property to beneficiaries at your death without probate, but it would protect all of your assets in the trust from all creditors including medicaid if ever needed. This means all assets in the trust are protected from creditors of you or your beneficiaries as long as the assets remain in the trust.

Also, just because the trust may be irrevocable does not mean you cannot change beneficiaries or what you are leaving to each beneficiary. Thus, if you include wife 3 and something happens to her and wife 4 needs to be included, you as grantor of the trust can change the beneficiaries as you choose. Irrevocable just means the trust cannot be dissolved without a court order and that the trust is being managed for the benefit of the beneficiaries and the grantor cannot manage the trust for himself or his own benefit.

The TOD is good to simply transfer property and or bank accounts. However, if you want to eliminate someone from getting the property and you forget to make the change, regardless of your wishes the property goes to them. It will avoid probate, but it does not avoid people fighting over your property when you are gone. The trust on the other hand allows you to insert clauses on exactly how you want the property distributed and also allows you to use a no contest clause which states that anyone who challenges the terms or bequests in the trust would be forever barred from benefiting from the trust (this stops a ton of fighting).

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