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Organ Donations and Oklahoma Estate Plans

One of the commonly used but often overlooked details in estate plans involves organ donation. A growing number of people are interested in stipulating that organ donation be part of their estate plans.  The following will take a brief examination of the organ donation process in Oklahoma and provides answers to some of the most common questions that people ask about the organ donation process. Why People Consider Donating Statistics reveal that each day in the United States, 21 people die waiting for an organ transplant. Organ donation can help friends, loved ones, and even strangers in need live longer and healthier lives.  If you would like to play this valuable role in someone else’s life, it is critical to make sure that these wishes are clearly expressed in your estate planning documents.  Types of Organs That can be Donated It is possible due to medical innovations to now donate either organs and/or tissue.  When it comes to organs, while a person is still alive, he or she can donate one kidney or a section of his or her liver. After a person’s death, it is possible to donate hearts, intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, and the pancreas.  Some of the     Read More

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How Trusts can Help People Who do Not Have a Lot of Assets

Estate planning is an uncomfortable process. Most people find it difficult to consider how their belongings will be distributed following their death. If you fail to make these choices, however, the alternatives are often much less desirable.  Not only does failure to create an adequate estate plan increase the chances that fighting will occur in your family, unnecessary taxes are also common. These challenges as well as many others can be avoided through the creation of a trust.  Despite this, the myth persists that trusts are only for the extremely wealthy and that they take a great deal of funds upfront to create. In reality, trusts are a powerful tool for most people because they offer the ability to great simplify things after a person’s death.  The Role of Trusts There are a number of different types of trusts that can be made part of a person’s estate plan. The most common type of trust used is a revocable living trust, which lets a person clearly outline how assets in an estate will be administered following that person’s death.  Trusts also let people avoid the probate process, which is the legal process through which a will is declared valid. Many     Read More

Uncomfortable Estate Planning Questions That Must be Answered

For many people, estate planning is an uneasy experience because it requires confronting a number of difficult and uncomfortable questions. By engaging in estate planning, we ultimately must accept that we will one day no longer be here. Some people might also have to accept that one day, an appointed party will make decisions to care for them.    Even though many people understand that estate planning is essential, they hesitate to fully address estate planning issues. The best way to make sure that every element of your estate plan is fully accounted for is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. The following are some of the important issues that you should consider when planning your end of life care and distribution of assets.   Who Will Take Care of Your Minor Children if You Die?   Some people hesitate to resolve estate planning issues because they cannot decide whom to name as a guardian of minor children. This creates the risk that if no guardian is appointed, a court will likely be tasked with determining who will care for your children.    Unless you believe that a judge will be able to make a better decision than     Read More

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Tips for Family Business Succession Planning

Statistics compiled by Forbes reveal that approximately 80 to 90% of businesses in the United States are either owned or controlled by families.  Other data reveals that only one third of these businesses survive into the second generation of a family and that only 10% of businesses make it to the third generation.  One of the reasons why businesses are not successfully passed between generations is lack of adequate estate planning. It is important to remember that there is simply no universal estate plan that works for every business, which is why options like online estate planning often does not work.  Instead, it is critical to carefully consider the various ways to pass ownership of a business between family members. Obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer who can help guide you in creating the right business succession plan. The following will review some helpful tips that you should remember when creating a strong succession plan for a family-owned business.  Consider Changing the Business Structure If a business is structured as a sole proprietorship or a partnership, it is important to remember that these entities are viewed as comparable to personal assets of the owner and cannot be     Read More

Estate Planning Lessons From Tom Petty and Other Celebrities

One of the most repeated pieces of estate planning advice is to create a will. While the late musician Tom Petty made sure to create a will prior to his death in 2017, there is still an ongoing legal battle concerning the administration of Petty’s estate. Even though Petty established a trust and named his wife as trustee, Petty’s daughters from an earlier marriage claim that Petty’s widow is not providing them with enough control over Petty’s assets. Petty’s daughters have initiated a lawsuit against Tom Petty Unlimited, which is an LLC tasked with managing the musician’s legacy. This dispute is just one of several recent highly-publicized estate battles involving celebrities with similar situations, such as Aretha Franklin and Prince. Because it can be difficult to create a good estate plan, many people find the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney particularly valuable. The following are some valuable lessons that can be gleaned from recent celebrity deaths. Plan for Unanticipated Events There a number of celebrities who pass away with trusts and wills in place, but because they fail to take potential births or deaths into consideration, problems arise after death. For example, the late rapper XXXTenacion failed to     Read More

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Five Essential Steps to Take When Estate Planning for Your Pet

It can be difficult adjusting to life without a loved pet. It can be just as challenging to make sure a pet is properly cared for in the event that something happens to you.   While it might be a grim thought, the truth is that every day a countless number of people are killed or incapacitated by serious accidents. If you were involved in a catastrophe of this nature, you would want to make sure that someone else could provide the care and love that your pet deserves. Despite recognizing the value of a pet trust, many people fail to create one. As a result when accidents do occur, pets are left to face the consequences. The ASPCA reports that each year, approximately half a million cats and dogs are placed in shelters because their owners are either killed or incapacitated in serious injuries. Fortunately, with some adequate estate planning, it is possible to make sure that your pet is cared for in the event something happens to you. Make Sure to Appoint Someone to Manage Your Pet’s Care Many people decide to use formal estate planning documents like wills to appoint someone to take care of a pet.     Read More

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Things to Look for When Selecting an Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is an important process for all people, regardless of the extent of their assets. One of the primary purposes of estate planning is to make sure that your estate, debts, and assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes following your death. There are, however, a number of complex issues that arise during the estate planning process. For this reason, having the help of an experienced estate planning attorney is paramount. The following are just some of the reasons why things you should look for in an experienced estate planning lawyer. The Lawyer Focuses on Estate Planning Performing proper estate planning requires a unique set of skills. Not only is it important to understand some of the complex laws that dictate how estate planning proceeds, a skilled lawyer also must understand some of the unique emotional considerations involved with estate planning. Additionally, the best estate planning lawyers have helped a number of people successfully navigate the same estate planning issues that you are now facing. The Attorney Knows How to Best Protect You and Your Family It is important to retain the assistance of an estate planning attorney who can make sure that you and your family pass     Read More

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Common Concerns of First-Time Executors

Many people do not know what to expect when serving as an executor for the first time. In many cases, first-time executors must juggle time commitments while also learning how the process works. While an experienced attorney can help you prepare to fulfill your role as an executor, it also helps to understand some of the most common concerns and obstacles that first time executors end up facing. Common Duties of Executors An executor is commonly responsible with handling the finances of a deceased person. Some of the tasks that executors often must perform include: Locating, reading, and understanding the deceased person’s will Notifying financial agencies of the deceased person’s death Deciding the type of probate that is necessary Representing the estate in a court of law Creating a bank account for any incoming funds as well as any ongoing bills Filing an inventory of the estate’s assets with the court Maintaining the property until it can be either distributed or sold Paying any debts or taxes accrued by the estate Distributing assets in accordance to the wishes expressed in a will Personal Liability Issues It is important to understand that an executor is held personally liable for any action     Read More

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The Value of a Life Estate Deed

Both the owner and the heir of an estate have the potential to end up benefiting from a life estate deed. Despite these potential advantages, many people do not know what a life estate deed is. A life estate deed is a real estate arrangement that contains two distinct phases. During the first phase, the property owner owns the real estate for the life. In the second phase, upon the death of the property owner, a remaining interest in the property is transferred to someone else. The owner of a “life estate” in a piece of property possesses the right to live on and use a property as long as the property holder is alive. A person who receives the interest in this property is then prohibited from interfering with the life estate holder’s use of the property. The Advantages of Creating a Life Estate Besides the security that comes from owning a property and using it as a person sees fit for their life, a life estate deed provides a number of other advantages, which include the following:   Immediate transfer without probate. On the death of the life estate owner, full ownership of a property is immediately transferred     Read More

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Reasons You Might Need to Write Someone Out of Your Will

In a perfect world, everyone would get along and there would be no arguments between family members or loved ones. Because we do not live in a perfect world, there are a number of issues and challenges in relationships that arise when estate plans are involved. Due to these disputes, it often becomes necessary for a parent or family member to write a loved one out of his or her will. An experienced estate planning lawyer has helped a number of people create their own unique estate plans, which can include writing loved ones out of an inheritance. While there are a number of reasons why you might decide to write someone out of your will, the following will discuss some of the most common reasons why you might employ this estate planning strategy. The Nature of the Relationship Has Changed One of the most common reasons that people choose to write someone out of his or her will is because the relationship with that person has changed. Relationships are often either strengthened or weakened over time. No matter how or why a relationship has changed, Oklahoma probate laws often allow an individual to write someone out of a will.     Read More

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