Estate Planning

The Role of Transfer on Death Accounts in Oklahoma Estate Plans

Some people find it hard to believe, but it is possible for joint account holders to determine who should receive the assets in an account after the surviving account owner passes away. Accounts referred to as transfer on death accounts (which are also sometimes referred to as payable on death accounts or Totten trusts) allow joint account owners to determine how assets should be passed on after the death of both account holders. Because these types of accounts can play a particularly important role in estate planning, the following will take a brief examination of how these accounts operate. Understanding How Transfer on Death Accounts Operate A person who creates a transfer on death account is responsible for the results of asset transfers from the account. Many people who create transfer on death accounts decide to create the account with language stating that a person indemnifies a bank from any claims if the individual relocates, beneficiary plans go against estate plans, or any other complexity that can interrupt the transfer of assets. The recipient of assets that are placed in a transfer on death account can be a child, a relative other than a spouse, and even a friend. The     Read More

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Advice on Protecting Foreign Assets in Estate Planning

Today, more so than ever before, we are living in a connected world, with people from Oklahoma working and visiting other states and even other countries. Each year, a large number of people vacation in other countries and some individuals even end up acquiring assets in these foreign countries. Unfortunately, estate planning is much more complex when a person owns assets that are located in another country. For this reason, it is important to understand some of the finer points of estate planning when foreign property is involved. Fully Disclose All of Your Assets It is important to make certain that you disclose all of your assets to your lawyer when creating your estate plan. Some people fail to include information about assets that they own in other countries because they do not think that it influences how their estate will be treated. In reality, an estate planning lawyer must understand all of your assets and where they are located to help to determine the tax repercussions for you and your heirs. The Possibility of Multiple Wills Based on exactly where foreign assets are located, a person might decide to have one or two wills to deal with the transfer     Read More

The Advantage of Irrevocable Trusts

While it is true that no two families are the same, it is also true that no two families have the same type of estate planning requirements. Fortunately, many concerns can be adequately addressed by creating proper trust provisions. While there are many different ways to create an adequate estate plan, trusts offer some substantial advantages in comparison to other tools. After the trust’s creator dies, the trust carries on indefinitely. The following will review some of the benefits that people realize through incorporating trusts into their estate plans. Avoid Probate All property that is placed in an irrevocable trust avoids the probate process, which can mean substantial saving in regards to time and expense for individuals. As a result, the use of an irrevocable trust can help to save a substantial amount of time as well as energy that a person would otherwise be required to invest in the probate process. Privacy Any property that passes through a probate estate becomes part of the public record. A trust is capable of keeping the entire transfer process private, which means that these trusts can play an important role in the lives of families who want to maintain a level of     Read More

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Estate Planning for Small Business Owners

With advancing technology increasingly at the fingertips of every person in the country, more and more people are opening their own businesses. While owning a business offers the advantage of creative freedom and growth, business owners often also feel the pain of financial stress much more substantially. Because there are a number of complex decisions to make, and often a number of people dependent on them to make the appropriate decisions, it is critical that business owners have adequate estate planning tools in place. The following will outline some of the important issues that a business owner should be prepared to discuss with his or her estate planning attorney. Control and Management Issues It is important for business owners to take longevity into consideration by making sure that estate plans describe exactly how ownership will be controlled. If there are numerous issues involved, it is critical to have a written agreement that covers some of the unique situations that can occur within a particular business. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create documents that will effectively control any plans that you might have concerning your business. Complications with Family and Workers Even if no potential family member or     Read More

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Common Types of Estate Planning Errors

While there are many advantages offered by estate planning, the process involves a number of complex issues. Rushing through the estate planning process can lead to errors in important documents, which can significantly disrupt a person’s estate. The following reviews some of the most common and serious estate planning errors that people make. It is always best to rely on the skill and experience of an estate planning attorney when putting together your plans for the future. Using Boilerplate Estate Planning Documents Given the prevalence of online estate planning documents, it can be tempting simply download a cookie-cutter estate planning form online. Not all people, however, need the same type of estate plan. Estate planning is a very individualized process. By using a generic estate planning document, you are at risk of leaving important issues unaddressed or having your estate administered in an undesirable way after your passing. Instead, it is a much better idea to obtain the assistance of an experience estate planning lawyer who can make certain that your end of life plans reflect your wishes. Trying to Avoid the Probate Process Sometimes in attempting to avoid probate, people make gifts to loved ones during their lifetime. The     Read More

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Estate Planning After Divorce

Changes in tax law that were passed at the end of 2017 resulted in a large number of people attempting to finalize their divorces before these laws became effective at the beginning of January, 2019. One substantial change is that under these new tax laws, alimony is no longer deductible by the payor and is no longer taxable for the receiver. These changes have had a substantial impact on both sides of alimony payments following a divorce. There are also, however, a number of other changes that people performing estate planning following a divorce should consider. The following reviews some of the most important changes in the law that will impact your estate planning and your divorce. Updating Health Care Power of Attorney A healthcare power of attorney document allows a person to appoint another person to make healthcare decisions for him or her in case of a coma or other incapacity. If you want to avoid having your former spouse make these types of decisions on your behalf, you need to accurately update your estate planning documents to reflect these changes. You should make sure that you still have a power of attorney document, however. In many cases, people     Read More

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Reviewing Estate Plans at the Beginning of 2019

As 2019 gets started, it is a wise idea to consider whether your estate plan is still sufficient for your various goals. While it might be an uncomfortable thing to think about, none of us will be here forever. Make sure that your estate plan is properly written so that when you do need it, your goals will be met. The following will discuss some important things that you should consider regarding the contents of your estate planning documents. Durable Power of Attorney Durable powers of attorney for things like finance, health care, and property are important. In creating these documents, you will select a trusted individual who can make decisions and take actions on your behalf concerning these issues. Failure to properly write these documents might mean that if a sudden medical emergency happens to you, your surviving family and loved ones will not be able to make important decisions regarding what medical care you receive as well as how your assets are handled. Beneficiary Designations It is critical to constantly update beneficiary designations as various life changes including deaths, changes in the family, and relocation occur. While some people focus on just reviewing beneficiary designations on all of     Read More

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Advice on Disinheriting Someone From Your Estate Plan

Some family units end up broken. This can involve children who are left behind after a divorce or family members who stop talking to others as a result of addiction or other complication. In the case of some fractured relationships, you might decide that you want to disinherit someone. In many cases, to successfully disinherit someone, it is best to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Recognize the Difference Between Living Trusts and Wills In many situations, if you decide that you want to disinherit someone, it is better to use a living trust than a will. This is because if you use a will to disinherit someone, it is easy for that individual to later challenge this decision. Another advantage of disinheriting someone through a living trust is that a will is a public document, which makes it much easier for anyone to find out about the disinheritance. Living trusts, however, are private documents, which means that there is a much greater amount of privacy. Consider the Value of a “No Contest” Clause If you do not plan on entirely disinheriting your children, you still might decide to leave them less than other children or heirs.     Read More

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Important End-of-Year Estate Planning Advice

As 2018 comes to an end, it is a good idea to review your estate plan to make sure that it is up to date. This is also a good time to check some of the important details about your estate planning documents. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you ensure that all your future plans are in order. Determine if You Have a Disability Plan It is critical to have documents in your estate plan to determine what happens in case you lose your mental or physical abilities. A Health Care Power of Attorney document is just one tool which helps to appoint a person to make medical decisions in case you are no longer able to make medical decisions for yourself. Examine Your Beneficiary Designations While they are important, beneficiary designations are often overlooked. These designations determine who will receive your assets after your death. Despite the numerous changes that can occur including divorce and marriage, these designations will remain the same despite the numerous changes that can occur. To avoid running into difficulties, it is best to review your beneficiary designations to make sure that these elections properly reflect your current goals. Inventory Your Assets If     Read More

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Why Young People Should Create Estate Plans

It is important to remember that each estate plan must be written to take a unique set of circumstances into consideration. As a result, there are often differences between estate plans, and people who create an estate plan for the first time often have questions about what process entails. If you are contemplating putting together an estate plan, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Even Young People Should Have Estate Plans There are several reasons why young people should consider writing estate plans: Incapacitation can strike a person at any age. Fortunately, creating an estate plan allows a person to deal with these events in case they arise. Powers of attorney allow a person to designate the individual who will make his or her financial or healthcare decisions in case incapacitation occurs. Without appointing a power of attorney, families are left without a clear-cut answer about what to do when a young person becomes incapacitated. Young people do not like to think about dying young, but the truth is that some people die before their time. No matter your age, if you die without an estate plan, your assets will pass through the intestacy process. For many     Read More

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