Oklahoma City Legal Blog

Tips for Discussing Estate Planning with Your Family

Having conversations about your estate plan can be difficult. For one thing, nobody likes to talk about what life will be like after their death. These conversations can also be challenging if your children are emotionally uncomfortable thinking about what life will be like after your death. It can be helpful to understand what tools you can use to make sure that family conversations about life after your death proceed as smoothly as possible. Start the Conversation Properly It can be difficult to begin conversations about estate planning. While there are many ways in which to initiate this sensitive subject matter, there are some important considerations. First, you should introduce the conversation during a calm time. These conversations should never be held during a period of crisis or uneasiness among your family. Be sincere about your intentions from the beginning of the conversation. This helps your family understand the point of the meeting. Emphasize the various benefits that can come from having a conversation about your end of life and estate planning goals. Create a Comfortable Space to Have a Conversation One of the best ways to have a successful discussion about estate planning is to make sure that your     Read More

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Strategies to Protect Family Wealth

One of most important goals of any estate plan is preserving a person’s wealth. To properly pass on your assets to your loved ones, you must make sure that your assets are adequately safeguarded. Fortunately, a well-crafted estate plan can offer substantial protection for your assets even if legal challenges arise. While it is no substitution for obtaining the assistance of a seasoned estate planning attorney, this article will outline some of the best estate planning methods you can utilize to preserve your family’s wealth. Creating a Will There are a large number of individuals who simply do not have a will at all. Without this estate planning document, it will be left to Georgia probate court to divide your assets, which could result in numerous tax complications as well as your assets being passed to the wrong people. The best way to make certain that your estate is properly administered is to create a will. Make Certain to Select the Proper Beneficiaries There are some assets that pass to loved ones through estate planning documents other than wills. When designating beneficiaries in life insurance policies and other types of accounts, it is critical to make sure that the proper     Read More

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When to Think Twice Before Filing for Bankruptcy

One of the most challenging aspects of bankruptcy law is that a large number of clients have misconceptions about the process and what it entails. One of these is when it is appropriate to file for bankruptcy. While the bankruptcy process offers several advantages including the opportunity to start over at building a good credit record, bankruptcy is not for everyone. This article discusses some of the situations in which you should think twice before filing for bankruptcy. You are Able to Pay Your Debts Occasionally, some people think that it might be a good idea to file for bankruptcy even though their debt is much smaller than their income. In these situations, a person should instead create a short or long-term plan to pay those debts. If you are not in a position to pay your debts, however, you should give serious consideration to filing for bankruptcy. Your Debt is Primarily Taxes or Student Loans Debt associated with taxes or student loans are particularly difficult to discharge through bankruptcy. To be discharged, income tax must meet several requirements including being three years old and not assessed within the last 240 days. Because you are unlikely to discharge most types     Read More

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Life Insurance Benefits

The reason why many decide to purchase life insurance is that it often helps them reach their financial goals. In some cases, life insurance can even provide individuals with benefits while they are still alive. Selecting the proper type of life insurance, however, can be challenging. Fortunately, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you obtain the best possible life insurance for your situation. This article will discuss some of the advantages (as well as disadvantages) involved with life insurance in an estate planning context. The Benefits of Life Insurance Life insurance offers some unique benefits, which include the following: After a person’s death, compensation from life insurance policies helps provide survivors with financial security. In comparison to other types of accounts like Roth IRAs, life insurance policies are not as restricted by tax requirements. This means that compensation administered after a person’s death is often tax-free. Another tax advantage provided by life insurance policies is that the value of the benefits grows at a tax-deferred rate while the insured is alive. Life insurance policies also offer the tax advantage that cash withdrawals up to the total of the life insurance policy can be made free of income tax. If     Read More

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Understanding Common Fears About the Bankruptcy Process

Few people approach Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy without any concerns about what the process might involve. Instead, it is much more common to involve bankruptcy as a potential solution in difficult times, but also a process that comes with several particular challenges. This article will address some of the most common fears that people have when considering filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Will Remain on Your Credit Report for Years Chapter 7 bankruptcy might only take several months to complete and offer the advantage of discharging you from debts, but many people worry that a bankruptcy will remain permanently on their record. In reality, many people discover that the bankruptcy filings remain on their record for a period of only a few years, after which they are able to begin rebuilding their credit score. Bankruptcy Records can be Viewed by Anyone Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding, which many people fear means that these records can be read by anyone. To access bankruptcy records, however, a person must have your name and other personal details. A person also must have the correct information to conduct an online search, which often means that these records are better hidden than many people     Read More

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Crucial Considerations When Estate Planning

Creating an estate plan is a gift to the loved ones you leave behind after your death. By creating a strong estate plan, you are able to provide assistance to guide your loved ones through the difficult and emotional time following your death. In many cases, failure to perform proper estate planning results in substantial disagreements between your loved ones. This article will review several of the steps that you can take to greatly reduce the risk of disagreements among loved ones following your death. Appoint an Appropriate Executor After a loved one’s death, some family members grow to feel that the family member who was appointed as executor is stealing from the estate. Other executors disappear from all contact with the family and refuse to deal with the appropriate paperwork to divide the estate. While many people decide to appoint the oldest surviving child as executor, consider the person’s skills at performing the job before giving that person such an important position. Failing to Address Personal Property The smallest piece of property has a tendency to lead to the largest family fights. Anything to which a family has strong emotional or sentimental connection has the potential to cause arguments.     Read More

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Important Things to Know Before Filing for Bankruptcy

Statistics reveal that last year there were 790,830 bankruptcy filings, which marked the smallest number of bankruptcies that have been filed in years. Even though this number has decreased, the bankruptcy rate in our country is still high. This article will review some important things to consider before filing for bankruptcy. All of Your Debts Must be Declared During Bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a challenging process, but some people do not reap the true benefits of the process because they are not entirely honest. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of not declaring all of their debts when filing for bankruptcy. To eliminate debt, it is critical for a person to inform bankruptcy court as well as the involved legal counsel the exact type and amount of debts that are involved. Bankruptcy is Complicated Bankruptcy has numerous benefits, but it is a particularly complicated process. Unfortunately, the various nuances involved with the bankruptcy process cause many people to make errors when filing for bankruptcy. One of the most common of these errors is failure to file important documents that are necessary to successfully navigate the bankruptcy process. Another failure is to meet the strict requirements of bankruptcy criteria. In some cases,     Read More

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Estate Planning for Surviving Spouses

When spouses die, no matter if it is suddenly or anticipated, a great deal of the subsequent estate planning is spent on administering the deceased person’s estate rather than focusing on the needs of the surviving spouse. It is critical for surviving spouses to understand what steps should be taken to make sure that their interests are protected after the death of a loved one. This article reviews some of the important estate planning steps that surviving spouses should remember to follow. Durable Power of Attorney A durable power of attorney designates one person to act on your behalf for financial matters during the course of your lifetime. In many cases, spouses will name one another as the appointed agent so that one spouse can make decisions on behalf of the other in case of emergencies. These documents are particularly important because events that result in disability and incapacity are frequently unexpected. In the case of a surviving spouse, it is often important to take steps to make sure that someone other than the deceased spouse is designated as the appointed agent. Health Care Proxies Health care proxies (which are sometimes called medical powers of attorney) are used whenever a     Read More

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The Truth Behind Legacy Plans

If you have created a Last Will and Testament, Revocable “Living” Trust, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will, you might the mistake of thinking that you have created all of the estate planning documents necessary. The truth is, however, that there are still some potential complications that can occur involving the distribution of your estate following death. This is where legacy planning comes in. Legacy planning refers to a financial strategy that lets a person pass assets to a loved one or family member after death. Because legacy plans are frequently complicated in nature, they often require the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. There are also many myths circulating about how legacy plans operate, which this article will seek to explain. What is Legacy Planning? Most estate plans focus solely on what assets a person will leave behind after death. Legacy planning, however, involves a more comprehensive approach and focuses on the creation of a plan for managing a person’s total wealth while alive, distributing an estate after death, and passing on a person’s legacy. These plans often include non-financial assets as well as financial assets. Through legacy plans, you can not only pass assets to loved ones     Read More

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Learning from the Estate Planning Mistakes of Aretha Franklin

While Aretha Franklin is remembered as an extraordinarily talented musician, she made some significant estate planning mistakes from which we can all learn. When Franklin died in August of 2018, she did not leave a will or any type of estate plan despite having four children, including one with special needs. If you fail to leave an estate plan, it means that your inheritance will not be distributed in the way that you intended. If you need any type of estate planning assistance, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. A Large Number of Americans Die Without Estate Plans released a study in 2017 that found a large number of Americans die without a living trust or will. The most common reason why individuals claim they do not create these estate planning documents is that they simply have not gotten around to it yet. There are many reasons why people delay creating estate plans including the emotional unpleasantness of having to make end-of-life decisions. Other individuals think that because they do not have a large inheritance, creating an estate plan is not important. In reality, everyone should be concerned about proper estate planning because     Read More

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