Muscari Law provides the following legal services in northeast Oklahoma in both the Tulsa and Grove office locations:
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will and Testament is a “death document”. The Will sets out your wishes in a
legal format as to who is to receive what and who is to be in charge at the time of your death. When you draft a Will, assets are distributed to beneficiaries according to your wishes. Your Will can also be used
to address oher issues such as choosing your executor and identifying the people you wish to care for your minor children.
The Last Will and Testament must go through the probate process. Probate proceedings are a matter of public record, meaning that anyone can see your Will, how property was
distributed to your beneficiaries and any other information contained in it. While most probate judges will follow a Will as it is written, they do have discretion with regard to interpreting and enforcing its
terms. If you are leaving assets to a minor person, Oklahoma Law prevents distribution to the minor until they attain the age of majority.
Revocable Living Trusts
A Revocable Living Trust is a “living document”. Trusts allow you to distribute property in the
same manner as a Last Will and Testament, but with considerably more control and privacy. The Declaration of Trust sets out mandatory instructions for the management of your person and your assets through life
and beyond. The Trust allows you to plan for various snapshots in time: health care crisis, incompetence, death of spouse, death of self, providing for loved ones through life and after life. A Trust is a plan
for life. You may make changes to your Trust as your life changes. The Trust becomes effective upon your signing of the document and does not wait until your death to be of value to you or your family. With a
Revocable Living Trust you may be more creative in the distribution of your assets at the time of your death - you may choose not to distribute all assets at one time; you may wish to stipulate that assets are
held until a person / beneficiary reaches a specific age; or you wish to spread the distribution of assets out over a period of time. With a Revocable Living Trust, you have many more options.
As the person who establishes the Trust, often referred to as the grantor, you decide what property goes into the Trust, as well as when and how the property is distributed and how
it is used prior to distribution.
A trustee oversees the Trust until the property is distributed. With a Trust, you can serve as the trustee while still alive and designate a replacement trustee to assume the
responsibilities upon your passing.
There are many different types of Trusts available depending upon the needs and circumstances of the client. Part of our job is to assist you in selecting the best type of Trust to
met your objectives.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document you may elect to go into effect immediately or upon a
state of legal disability / incapacity (incompetence). This is the document in which you appoint a person(s) to be in control of your assets during your lifetime if you are unable to manage them yourself. You
can authorize someone to sign checks, deposit or withdraw funds, make investment decisions, make healthcare decisions, or anything else you would normally do for yourself.
The Power of Attorney ends at death.
If you have a child who has attained the age of 18 years, it is important to have a Power of Attorney drafted for them. Remember, your child is legally an adult according to
Oklahoma Law. As a parent, you no longer have decision-making authority as you did when your child was a minor. If you have an aging parent, please discuss creating a Power of Attorney with them to prevent court
mandated interference in private family matters.
Special and/or Limited Power of Attorney
The Special and/or Limited Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent. This document
is different from a Durable Power of Attorney in that it is for a short term and for a very specific purpose. This means that it is limited in both scope and duration. It is often used for the closing of a real
estate transaction, the management of assets during a period of absense, or for a specific life event.
Advanced Health Care Directive
The Advanced Health Care Directive is a legal health care document with multiple
provisions. The document has a Living Will provision, a section for the designation of a Health Care Proxy, an area which provides you with the option of being an anatomical donor, and an area for establishing
more specific instructions. The document is for life-threatening illnesses and situations.
The Living Will Provision
- You have the right to choose whether or not you wish to receive life sustaining treatment and whether or not you wish to receive artificially administered food and water. As Oklahoma citizens, we have the legal right to make these choices under three (3) specific diagnostic categories: terminal illness, persistently unconscious, and end-stage conditions.
Designation of a Health Care Proxy - You have the right to choose who will be the person(s) speaking on your
behalf to health care professionals if you are unable to do so yourself. These appointed persons are unable to change the choices you have made in the area of the Living Will.
Anatomical Donor - You have the right to designate whether, after death, your body or organs are to be gifted for transplantation, medical and/or dental
research. There is no right or wrong answer, as it is a very personal decision.
Most people believe they know what their choices will be until they pick up the pen to sign the document. Please be sure to take the time to discuss the options under Oklahoma Law and play the “what-if” game. This is one of the most important documents everybody should have on file. Do not fall prey to quickly-made decisions in an emergency situation upon admittance to a hospital. There are both legal and medical ramifications to your choices - be sure to understand them.
Without this document, Oklahoma Law is written such that our health care providers will be charged with homicide if care is not administered. Please protect
yourself and your family by ensuring that this document is in place.
Mental Health Care Directive
- The Mental Health Care Directive is specifically for mental health care conditions. As we age, mental health may become an issue we never anticipated. Mental Health covers a broad range of conditions and this document gives you the right to specifically appoint a person(s) as your agent for mental health care specific issues.
Probate is a legal process instituted when a person dies with a Last Will and Testament or when they die without any legal
documents in place. The process is the same in either case and is governed by Oklahoma Statutes Title 58. The only difference is the individual in charge of the estate, who is called the a Personal
Representative (with a Will) or Administrator (without a Will). Both are commonly referred to as Executors. Probate is a public record, which means that anyone can “read all about it” by going to the
county clerk and requesting to see the file. Probate can be a long and cumbersome process and is easily contestable.
In Oklahoma, the probate process begins by filing a Petition and giving written notice to all heirs. At the initial hearing, the judge listens to testimony from the individual
requesting to be the Executor and, if qualified, that person is appointed to serve after signing an oath to perform the duties to the best of their ability. At the hearing, the judge can also make a
determination as to who the heirs of the deceased are, if requested.
Notice is then given to all creditors of the deceased by mail and by publication. The creditors have sixty (60) days to submit a claim. Any claims received are then approved and
paid, or disapproved, by the Executor.
The Executor is required to locate all assets, file an inventory, and at the appropriate time, distribute the assets to the beneficiaries as listed in the Last Will and Testament,
or according to the statute if no Last Will exists.
There are numerous other steps to the Probate process, as well as additional documents to be filed. This is merely a brief overview of the process. Probate will generally take six
(6) months or more depending upon the complexity of the estate and other considerations, such as the sale of real property.
Adult Guardianship is a legal court process wherein the court appoints a person to make decisions for an adult
person who is no longer capable of making their own personal and/or financial decisions due to age, illness, incompetence, etc. The guardianship action continues until, if ever, the person is determined to be
capable of managing their own personal / financial decisions, The guardian is required to file an annual report with the court for monitoring of the actions of the guardian. The execution of a Durable Power of
Attorney prior to legal disability nominates a person of your choice to act as your guardian should a guardianship be required in lieu of having the court appoint a guardian who may or may not be of your
Guardianship for a Child is a legal court process wherein the court appoints a person to make decisions as to the person and estate of a minor. A guardianship is required when a
grandparent is raising a grandchild or any other person is raising a child who is not their own. The guardianship gives custodial rights to the guardian and legal rights to the guardian for making decisions,
obtaining health care treatment, health insurance, registering for school, and the like. The court continues to monitor the guardianship by reviewing annual reports filed by guardian, until the child attains the
age of 18 years or graduates from high school. An Adult Guardianship is required for a special needs child that has reached the age of majority.
Muscari Law will assist in the creation of Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Sub-Chapter S Corporations
(S-Corp), and C Corporations.
Muscari Law, if requested, will maintain your LLC or Corporate Record books for compliance with Oklahoma and Federal Law.
To schedule a meeting with Susan Muscari, please feel free to call us at 918-791-3150 or 918-770-3423. You may also
schedule a meeting using our Online Contact Form. We look forward to helping you understand your options and to develop a
plan that is best for your and your loved ones.