Estate Planning

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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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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Signs That a Beneficiary Might be Able to Avoid Probate

Many people want to make sure their children or loved ones are taken care of after their death. They want to take all necessary steps to make sure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes and that the amount is not lost or consumed by government fees. While making sure that this distribution occurs and avoiding a waiting period is critical to many, there are some alternatives to traditional probate that are sometimes easier or better to use than more conventional methods. If an Estate is Small, Avoid Probate by Affidavit If the assets of a person’s estate are below a certain amount, the state of Oklahoma has a law that allows individuals to avoid the probate process. All that a beneficiary is required to do in these circumstances is to present the appropriate court with a document called an affidavit stating that the beneficiary is entitled to a certain asset. Once the person or company holding the deceased person’s property receives this affidavit and an authorized person of the deceased individual’s death certificate, the asset will be released. Heirship Affidavit In the state of Oklahoma, heirship affidavits are used to transfer property when a person dies instead     Read More

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Advantages of Estate Planning for Business Owners

A person’s estate plan has the capacity to contain critical information about what should be done with a person’s estate after his or her death. In nearly every situation, it is critical that a person begins estate planning as soon as possible because it is impossible to determine when catastrophe will strike or death will occur. For business owners, this type of planning is even more important because a significant amount of many business owners’ wealth is directly connected to their companies. As a result, the strength and nature of a business owner’s estate plan dictates how that business will be transitioned between generations and either cause a great deal of money to be lost or gained based on how the transfer occurs. This article will discuss some of the particular advantages that estate planning tools offer for business owners. Advantage #1: Estate Tax Reduction An estate tax is a tax that is placed on the estate of a deceased individual. These taxes can represent a large amount, and in some cases can cost up to 50% of a business’s value. Various elements of the Internal Revenue Service’s codes, however, allow individuals to use probate tools to minimize the amount     Read More

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Selecting an Executor for Oklahoma Estate Administration

Probate is the court supervised process in which a judge determines how a will applies to the distribution of assets and debts belonging to a deceased person. The amount of time involved in the probate process changes based on whether family members can agree on how the process should occur. Overseeing this process will be an executor, who can be selected in a will or appointed by a court of law. To make sure that a strong executor is appointed in estate planning documents, many people find it essential to contact a skilled attorney. Tips on Selecting an Executor Executors are named in a legal document which must meet certain requirements. In addition to contacting a skilled estate planning attorney, it is also often beneficial for individuals who are about to be engaged in this process to understand some important advice that will make the whole process easier. Name a Second Executor. It is important for individuals to locate not just one but two potential executors in case the first executor is unable to perform the function for whatever reason. Finding more than two potential executors, however, is frequently difficult to manage. Potential Limitations in Selecting an Executor. There are     Read More

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