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Estate planning involves, or can involve a number of matters including but not limited to:  End of life instructions for health care, Powers of attorney for health care, Powers of attorney for business decisions, Estate tax planning, Wills, Trusts, Transfer on death deeds and much more.


Living Wills also technically known as Advance Health Care Directives, Probate, and Powers Of Attorney are basic matters involved in estate planning and estate administration.  A short discussion of each follows.

Living Will: Many people have heard the term "Living Will".  They are technically Advance Health Care Directives.  A Living Will is an instrument that can become vitally important when a person becomes terminally ill or persistently unconscious.  Living Wills are drafted by an individual while competent to do so.  The Living Will is a directive by a person to health care providers and loved ones of what to do if the person becomes terminally ill or in an irreversible coma or otherwise is persistently unconscious and is not going to recover.  The Living Will instructs what measures are to be taken or not taken, such as hooking a person up to ventilators or using stomach tubes and other extreme and invasive measures that will only prolong the process of dying or maintaining a person in a persistent comatose state.  Living Wills may also designate a health care proxy that is the designation of one particular person to communicate with doctors and see to it that your wishes are followed.  Without a Living Will mass confusion can result and a person may be maintained in a vegetative or painfully terminal state for an indefinite period of time because no one knows what to do or legal battles might ensue among well meaning loved ones that can't make the decision.

Power Of Attorney: A Power Of Attorney is a document by which a person can designate and empower another person to legally act on their behalf.  A Power Of Attorney may be drafted to become effective immediately or at some time in the future upon the happening of certain events.  A Power Of Attorney may be drafted to give another person broad powers to legally act in all affairs or it may be drafted narrowly to allow a person to only do one or more things on your behalf.  A specific type of Power Of Attorney that is very helpful in estate planning is a Durable Power Of Attorney.  The Durable Power Of Attorney may be effective immediately but usually it is drafted to only become effective when a person loses the capacity to make decisions for themselves such as in a severe illness.  The Durable Power Of Attorney survives and remains effective for the person who can no longer make decisions on their own.  These are very useful tools to allow family members or trusted friends to carry on a person's business such as paying bills or investing.

Probate: Probate is the process by which a person's estate is distributed pursuant to that person's Will when they die.  It is a court proceeding.  When a person dies with a Will in effect and property passing to others under the power of that Will it is accomplished by filing a Probate Proceeding in Court.  A Personal Representative of the estate also often called and Executor is appointed.  Usually, that person has been designated by the deceased person in the Will.  That person, along with the attorney hired to do the Probate, are then responsible for gathering all the assets, accounting for those assets to the Court, gathering all the deceased person's bills, paying all the valid bills, filing the necessary tax reporting documents and paying any required taxes, and then finally distributing the person's net estate to the persons designated in the Will to receive the estate.  Probate proceedings are legal and technical and the assistance of an attorney is a must.

The Ritchie Law Firm has over 20 years of experience in helpling clients plan for their estates.  If you are contemplating drafting an estate plan put The Ritchie Law Firm to work for you to accomplish your goals.


At the Ritchie Law Firm in Pryor, OK we represent clients throughout Oklahoma, including Pryor, Claremore, Wagoner, Vinita, Jay, Muskogee, Tulsa, Nowata, and Sapulpa. 
Through the following counties: Mayes County, Rogers County, Tulsa County, Craig County, Wagoner County,
Muskogee County, Nowata County, Delaware County, Osage County, and Creek County.