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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 [...]

2018-01-15T00:00:36+00:00Tags: , |

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 [...]

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 [...]

2020-09-10T13:35:57+00:00Tags: |

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 [...]

2020-09-10T13:35:55+00:00Tags: |

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 [...]

2017-11-28T19:54:51+00:00Tags: , |

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 [...]

2020-09-10T13:36:06+00:00Tags: , |

Four Myths About Foreclosure

Many bankruptcy cases begin after a person’s home has been foreclosed upon. Foreclosure and bankruptcy are two of the most difficult personal and financial challenges that can be faced by individuals. Because the foreclosure can be complicated and because it is feared by most people, there are a large number of misconceptions and myths that exist about the foreclosure process. This article will discuss some of the most common myths about foreclosure so that individuals can better prepare for the foreclosure process. Myth # 1: A Person is Not Responsible for Paying a Bank’s Legal Fees Many individuals assume that because their home is being foreclosed upon, that they are not also required to pay the bank’s legal fees. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. In reality, most mortgage agreements state that in the case of foreclosure, the person who is granted the mortgage by the lending company is responsible for the bank’s legal fees. Myth # 2: Once in Motion, a Foreclosure Cannot be Stopped Many individuals fear the foreclosure process and believe that once it starts, it is impossible to stop. In reality, if a homeowner is able to somehow find all of the money for all missed [...]

2017-10-26T16:37:04+00:00Tags: , |

Bankruptcy 101

Bankruptcy is a complicated area of law that is difficult for many to understand. Like any body of law, one of the most complicated factors is that it involves a unique group of keywords that are used by judges, lawyers, and individuals in the middle of the legal process. Anyone going through the bankruptcy process can benefit from understanding some of the essential terms used throughout the bankruptcy process. Important Bankruptcy Terms Some of the most important bankruptcy terms that should be known by individuals who are in the midst of the process include the following: Absolute Priority: When a person makes payments during the bankruptcy process, these amounts are distributed in accordance with the absolute priority, which is established in the federal bankruptcy code. Automatic Stay: An automatic stay refers to the block that is created when a person files for bankruptcy and prevents creditors from collecting on debts in any manner. Core Proceedings: There are many things that occur during the bankruptcy process, but core proceedings refer to steps that are decided on by the bankruptcy court. Dischargeable Debt: Debt that is eliminated when a person files for bankruptcy is considered to be dischargeable debt, while debt that [...]

2020-09-10T13:35:48+00:00Tags: |

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 [...]

2017-10-06T13:49:28+00:00Tags: , , |

Three Things to Avoid Before Filing for Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you need to fully prepare for the many obstacles that can arise during the process. Failing to sufficiently prepare or taking incorrect steps during the bankruptcy process has the potential to significantly jeopardize your future. So that the bankruptcy process can continue as smoothly as possible, this article has been created to inform an individual who is planning for bankruptcy about various things that must be avoided before filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Error #1: Treating Family Members Differently Than Other Debtors Many individuals who have significant debt and who must ultimately file for bankruptcy believe that it is permissible to treat family members more preferentially than other debtors. This type of activity is not allowed, however. A bankruptcy trustee is able to reclaim any amount that a person repays to a family members within two years of filing for bankruptcy. As a result, individuals should treat family members like any other person to whom the individual owes money and wait to repay them. After the bankruptcy process is over, an individual will be able to pay back anyone that he or she chooses. Error #2: Not Appearing at [...]

2017-09-30T12:49:36+00:00Tags: |