Michael Jackson's case
In July, Michael Jackson's will was filed in the probate court. It was surprising, actually, that someone with his assets died with only a will. In fact, it is common for those with extensive property like Mr. Jackson or even just a home, to create a living trust so that their assets will pass to their heirs without the cost and delay of a probate proceeding.
There are times, though, when probate can be an appropriate place to settle an estate, and Michael Jackson's might be the poster child for these cases - when there are messy creditor claims to sort out. Like a bankruptcy court, a probate proceeding is place where creditors and their claims (and guardianship issues) can be sorted out by a court, in a set period of time and with finality.
The AP has published a good article if you're trying to sort out whether a will or trust makes more sense for your family. However, in Oklahoma, a probate is expensive and time-consuming, and if you want to leave everything to your kids, if you own a home, or if you don't have complex credit issues, a trust is generally a great long-term investment.
If you need help with estate planning or just have questions, please contact us for a free initial consultation and/or attend the Free Estate Planning Seminar, held monthly at the Mazaheri Law Firm for additional information.