Estate Planning

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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Advice on Estate Planning for Oklahoma Blended Families

Statistics compiled by Pew Research show that over half of the families in the United States are either recoupled or remarried. Raising children in a blended family introduces a number of unique challenges. One of the most overlooked obstacles faced by these kinds of families involves estate planning. In the hopes of better preparing blended families for this complex but important task, the following will review some helpful suggestions: You Will Likely Need More Than a Will By using just a will in an estate plan, you create the possibility that disputes will occur among surviving loved ones and that your children will be left out of receiving any proceeds from your estate. It is often a wise idea to determine if you would be better off passing assets through a trust or one of several other types of estate planning tools. Recognize the Value of a Trust You might benefit from creating a trust that leaves assets to your spouse for that spouse’s lifetime and then passes the remaining balance to your children after your spouse’s death. Passing assets through a trust also ensures that a surviving spouse is able to access funds while he or she is alive     Read More

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Issues of Incapacity in Estate Planning

One of the most common estate planning mistakes is to focus on creating trusts and wills to make sure that property is transferred according to your wishes, to the exclusion of anything else. Another essential issue to consider when estate planning is incapacity. When a person is unable to make medical decisions or handle a situation because of an injury or medical condition, someone else needs to step in. In Oklahoma, a person’s wishes for how incapacity issues should be handled should be clearly outlined in an advance care directive. Healthcare Directives When a person experiences incapacity, he or she is unable to provide details about what type of medical care he or she should receive. Healthcare directives become effective when a person is no longer able to speak for him or herself as a result of a medical condition. These directives allow a person to list the types of medical treatment he or she would like to receive and not like to receive. After a person executes a healthcare directive, a person has the option to alter or revoke it at any time. Healthcare Power of Attorney There are a number of medical procedures that might be used for     Read More

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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