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US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Influential Bankruptcy Case

The Supreme Court of the United States recently agreed to determine the intent of Congress when the section of bankruptcy code was created that determines the discharge of debts associated with dishonest or fraudulent conduct. This case serves as a reminder of the many complicated areas in bankruptcy law. Given these complexities, many people are who are involved with bankruptcy cases have found that it is critical to the outcome of a case to obtain the assistance of a seasoned attorney. The Background of the Case The party that originated the class initiated the case against the owners of a business that the party had recently purchased. The party agreed to pay legal counsel on an hourly basis with fees due each month. As the case proceeded, however, the man became delinquent on his payments. These two parties met numerous times to discuss the matter of payment with the legal counsel even reducing the client’s payment despite continued legal representation. In June of 2006, the law firm alleges that the party received a tax refund payment and used this money to make an investment in his business instead of paying outstanding legal fees. When the payment was not made, the     Read More

Why You Need an Estate Plan Today

Creating a strong estate plan is often one of the best ways for a person to articulate his or her end of life goals and to ensure they are achieved. Many people, however, are resistant to decide estate planning issues because they are afraid to discuss issues associated with dying. As a result, many people either lack estate plans, have wills that are not properly updated, or are not sure what their estate plans say. An attorney can prove to be quite helpful in determining how and why estate plans should be created. This article will review some of the reasons why you should consider proper estate planning now, before it is too late. Estate Plans Avoid Established Law If a person does not have a proper estate plan, the state of Oklahoma will determine how his or her estate should be divided based on established law. After a person’s death, his or her estate is divided based on ownership, beneficiaries, and state law. As a result, the lack of a proper estate plan takes away a person’s ability to determine how his or her estate should be divided. Estate Plans Let You Articulate End of Life Goals An estate     Read More

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Taking the New Tax Law into Consideration While Estate Planning

Some people delayed estate planning until the 2017 tax law was passed because there were many potential changes that promised to impact these decisions. For estate planning purposes, the most significant part of the tax law is that it increases the amount that each person is able to pass on free of federal estate estate, with the amount raising from $5.49 million to $11.2 million. While the tax law, which is also referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will help many taxpayers avoid ever paying a federal estate tax, it is still important to engage in sufficient estate planning. The goal of estate planning is often to make sure that you have a thorough and detailed estate plan prior to becoming incapacitated. In consideration of these recent changes to the tax law, there are some important steps that people should take to make sure that their estate plan goals are achieved. While the tax law is complicated, this article will review just some of the most important steps that a person should take. Keep Beneficiary Designations Up to Date Beneficiaries can be named on a variety of estate planning documents including 401Ks, IRAs, and life insurance. There     Read More

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Tips for Older Americans to Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy

Medical debt is currently the main cause of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States, and people who are 65 or older comprise approximately 8% of the individuals who file for bankruptcy. There are several reasons why this age group has high levels of medical debt including that the 2008 recession impacted this group significantly and wives who are most often outliving their husbands. Older individuals often also face predatory debt collectors. While bankruptcy is often an option for starting over financially, older clients also see bankruptcy as an opportunity to make themselves happy again. In addition to being complicated, filing for bankruptcy can be an embarrassing process for many older adults. This article will review some of the important tips that an older adult in Oklahoma can take to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Contact Your Creditors A person might be able to negotiate a repayment plan with creditors. As a result, it is often important to contact a supervisor at each company to which you owe money as soon as you notice debts. Providing detailed notes about who you spoke to and what time the conversation occurred can later help in various steps of the repayment process. Decide on     Read More

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Department of Justice Issues Cannabis Ruling

There have been some substantial changes in the last few years regarding how the state of Oklahoma treats the use of marijuana. For example, the Governor of Oklahoma has helped to make legal the use of some THC cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy. To be considered legal in the state of Oklahoma, the THC oil must be no more than .3% THC. Legislation in the state of Oklahoma also allows marijuana products that are supported by medical studies. With CBD oils legalized, the Governor of Oklahoma is also in the process of attempting to legalize marijuana. Despite the legalization of CBD oil in Oklahoma, marijuana is still prohibited at a federal level. As a result, the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug. This clash represents just one of the many contradictions between how state and federal law treat marijuana. A recent decision made by the federal government has had a significant impact on the rights of some marijuana-based businesses in the state that declare bankruptcy. The Recent Bankruptcy Court Ruling In a recent ruling, the United States Department of Justice issued a statement to inform business owners that marijuana-based businesses are not able to     Read More

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Things to Avoid While Retirement and Succession Planning

Our legal counsel has helped many individuals with retirement and succession planning. While there are many steps that a person should make sure to implement in this process, there are also some elements that it is important to avoid. This article will review some things that you should avoid when planning for the future. Avoid Impulsive Decisions It is important that you avoid making any impulsive decisions when estate planning. You should provide yourself with a sufficient amount of time to make sure that all decisions are fully considered. Be Realistic It is important to begin estate planning by evaluating what you have and determining what types of gifts can be made. By being honest about what you can spend, it is possible to be realistic information about how your estate can be distributed. Document Any Gifts It is important for you to document any gifts that you provide to others. Documenting this information is important to establish ownership and make sure that the property owner’s wishes are fully executed. Equal is Different From Fair Dividing assets equally among beneficiaries might not be fair to some people. As a result, it is important to treat your beneficiaries as fairly and     Read More

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Deciding When Lack of Capacity Exists

When a dispute exists concerning a person’s will, one of the most common questions is whether that individual had the capacity to create the document in question. It is often quite difficult to challenge a will. Unless it can be demonstrated that the individual had a lack of capacity, a challenger will be unlikely to raise a strong case. In deciding whether a person lacked capacity to create an estate planning document, it is often vital to review a person’s medical records. If you believe that a person lacked the capacity to create a will and now wish to challenge the document, it is important to understand exactly what lack of capacity in Oklahoma estate planning means. Many individuals also discover that it is just as important to obtain the services of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. What Constitutes Lack of Capacity A person’s mental capacity encompasses that individual’s ability to make rational decision and to process information. A person who has a lack of capacity often experiences difficulty analyzing details. Why Lack of Capacity is Unique There are many medical conditions that can result in a person experiencing lack of capacity. Some of these conditions include Alzheimer’s Disease and     Read More

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Things to Consider When Revising an Estate Plan After Divorce

Divorce results in a number of substantial life changes for many individuals. There are many issues that concern individuals going through a divorce including custody rights and how property will be divided. An additional element that many individuals should consider during a divorce is updating their estate plans. Updates to the estate plan should reflect a person’s new perspective on how end-of-life issues should be handled now that the person is no longer married, and many other changes. It is important that a person understands the many elements of an estate plan that can be affected by a divorce. Revocations of Prior Wills Estate planning laws in the state of Oklahoma dictate that a person’s new will in the state of Oklahoma wll replace any previous wills. It is always a wise idea, however, to make sure that no previous wills continue to remain effective. Even though many wills can be revoked by destroying the documents themselves, some types of wills require being processed through a court of law. Additionally, a new will should also contain a statement that any prior existing wills or versions of the existing will are revoked. Changes to Health Care Directives A person should determine     Read More

Seven Signs that Joint Tenancy is Right for You

There are several ways in which a person can retain interest in a piece of property in the state of Oklahoma. Depending on the facts surrounding property ownership, a person should make a determination about what piece of property is right for him or her. One of the most common types of property ownership, joint ownership, refers to when two or more individuals retain ownership rights in a piece of property. This article will review some of the reasons why joint ownership of property might be right for you. The Survivor Element of Joint Ownership In joint tenancy properties in Oklahoma, when a co-owner dies, that person’s property interest passes to the surviving owners. While some people might be okay with this type of property arrangement, other individuals are not. Despite this feature, it is important for property owners to remember that joint tenancy is not a substitute for a will. A will is required to dispose of any other types of ownership rights that might be associated with this property. Ownership Rights can be Transferred to Third Parties If a property owner transfers his or her title to another person, the purchaser obtains only an undivided one-half interest in     Read More

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Top Reasons Wills are Challenged

Few wills proceed through the probate process without being challenged. In many situations, courts in the state of Oklahoma take the perspective that a will is a person’s final wishes. As a result, challenging a will is often a difficult process. If you plan on challenging a will, it is often critical to obtain the services of a knowledgeable probate attorney. Attorney Jim A. Lyon can assess your case and determine the best strategy for obtaining the compensation that you deserve. This article will review some of the most common reasons why wills are challenged in the state of Oklahoma. Another Will Exists Sometimes, people write multiple wills over the years. There are several ways for an existing will to cancel out an earlier draft of the same will or another will. If the probate court is attempting to decide how an older draft of the will should be read, a person can challenge the will by presenting a new copy. Lack of Capacity Law in the state of Oklahoma requires the party who writes a will to possess the legal capacity to create this document. More specifically, this law means that a person must be over the age of     Read More

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