Monthly Archives: May 2020

What is Form 709 and Why Would I Need it?

Given that the lifetime gas tax exemption for 2020 has been increased for the next year to $11.58 million, a much smaller portion of people is now subject to federal gift taxes. Many people are also wondering whether it is still necessary to file gift tax returns.  While it is not necessary to file these forms if your assets are below this threshold, there are situations in which you might want to file a Form 709, which is also known as a “United States Gift Tax Return.” This article reviews some critical details that you understand about the role of Form 709. What Does Not Require a Form 709 While many asset transfers constitute gifts, there are some notable exceptions. Some asset transfers that need not be reported on Form 709 include: Direct payments for qualifying medical or educational expenses. Deductible charitable gifts. Gifts of present interests within the annual exclusion amount. Gifts to a spouse who is a U.S. citizen either directly or through a qualifying trust Gifts to a noncitizen spouse within an annual exclusion amount of $157,000 Transfers in these categories are not subject to a gift tax return. All other gifts, however, must be reported through     Read More

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Four Critical Estate Planning Strategies for Difficult Times

The coronavirus pandemic has left many people curious about what estate planning strategy works. You also might have discovered that some estate planning strategies you once planned on utilizing are no longer the best choice. These difficult times also hopefully prompt people who have not yet engaged in estate planning to create strategies for unexpected incapacity or death, there are also some critical steps that you can take if you already have an estate plan to make sure that you are fully prepared for the future. Review the Terms of Existing Documents To make sure that your estate plan is still capable of achieving your goals, it is critical to review its essential terms. While looking over your estate plan, make sure to ask yourself the important questions: Are the people you designated as personal representatives still the best selections? Have births, deaths, divorce, or marriage impacted your intended beneficiaries? Is the amount that each beneficiary receives as a distribution still appropriate? Are your health care choices still appropriately reflected in your directives? Are the terms of your durable power of attorney still appropriate? Do your loved ones know where to find your estate planning documents? If you decide that     Read More

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Estate Planning Advice During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As Oklahoma begins to loosen its coronavirus restrictions, many people, including those with children, are wondering what they can do to make sure they are adequately prepared if they contract COVID-19 and are left incapacitated. Two substantial issues that parents worry about is who will make financial and medical decisions for them if they are not able to make them for themselves as well as who will take care of their children in case they are left unable to do so.  If you are left incapacitated as a result of the coronavirus or any other condition, your loved ones will need to go court to have a guardian appointed. This was a costly and time-consuming process before the pandemic, and now it is even more challenging. Consequently, it is best to prepare in advance and make sure that you have created several critical estate planning documents that address incapacity. Durable Power of Attorney These documents appoint an agent to help address your financial affairs if you are incapacitated. Rather than wait for the court to appoint a conservatory, an agent appointed through a durable power of attorney has instant access to your financial accounts and can sign your name on     Read More

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Advice on Turning Your Retirement Plan Into an Estate Plan

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the country has understandably seen an increase in the number of people creating estate plans. If you feel the need to quickly create or revise the terms of your estate plan, there are easy changes that can be made to turn a retirement plan into a strategy to handle your death or incapacity. Create a Will If you have not yet created a will, it can be challenging to make sure that your will meets all requirements during stay at home restrictions. Oklahoma does not require you to notarize your will to make it legal, but if you want to create a "self-proving" will then you will need to notarize the document.  Wills that are "self-proving" proceed through the probate much more quickly because a court can accept the document without contacting witnesses. It can be challenging to notarize documents during the pandemic, even if you utilize creative methods like self-notarization. Fortunately, a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can make sure that your will is properly written as well as adequately executed and attested. Create a Power of Attorney Power of attorney documents allow a person to designate an individual to act on their behalf if     Read More

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Recognizing When it is Time to Update Your Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan is one of the most powerful ways to leave a lasting reminder of your love for family and friends. Unfortunately, the best estate plans are not written in stone. Instead, your estate planning strategies should grow and change based on various evolving life situations.  As we weather the coronavirus pandemic and as we overcome countless challenges, it is important to make sure that your estate plan considers life changes. This article reviews four events that should cause you to review the terms of your estate plan. Divorce and Marriage Whether you just entered into a marriage or recently ended one, it is important to consider the relationship that current or former spouses have to estate plans. If you are entering into a new marriage, you likely want to make sure that your spouse is written into your estate plan in a way that most greatly minimizes tax issues.  Conversely, if you are ending a marriage, you likely want to make sure that your ex is properly excluded from your estate plan, which includes making sure that your ex is left out of any assets that pass through beneficiary designations. The Death of a Loved One Losing     Read More

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