estate plan modification

Four Tips for Fireproofing Your Estate Plan

As we begin the new year, it is a good idea to review the terms of your estate plan. As you glance over these documents, which likely include things like powers of attorney, trusts, wills, and advance healthcare directives, it is important to ask whether your estate plan is still capable of achieving your objectives. A skilled estate planning attorney can help you review your plan to make sure that it is still the best idea to achieve your goals given various changes with estate planning and tax laws. Think about your estate planning as fireproofing your legacy. While poorly written estate plans will do little to protect your loved ones from risk, a fire-proof estate plan will ensure that your loved ones remain safe and well provided for long after you are gone.  Adequately Planning for Blended Families For people with blended families, the question of who should receive what asset is often a much more complicated issue. Failure to properly pass on assets can leave children and other family members greatly disappointed. If a surviving spouse is placed in control of trust assets, stepchildren might be neglected in how an estate is administered. To fully fire-proof your estate [...]

2021-01-15T15:49:13+00:00Tags: , |

Four Things to Routinely Review in Your Estate Plan

Estate plans are not meant to be written in stone. Instead, after creating an estate plan, it is a good idea to routinely revisit the terms of your plan to make sure that it still expresses your values for how to handle your estate in case you are incapacitated or pass away. While they might not seem major, even small changes in your personal life or in the area of tax law can have a substantial impact on the terms of your estate plan. This article reviews some of the critical areas that you should remember to review when it comes time to evaluate the terms of your estate plan. Whether Circumstances That Influence Decisions Have Changed For many people, it is an understatement that 2020 was a year full of change. While children were born and some people got married, there were also many divorces and serious illnesses. Each of these changes has the potential to substantially disrupt your estate plan. For example, a beneficiary might have unexpectedly passed away which means that you will need to appoint another party to receive this share of your estate. Another example might be a person who decides to leave an amount [...]

2020-11-20T18:59:15+00:00Tags: |

Is Guardianship Right for Your Oklahoma Estate Plan?

Elderly individuals are a vulnerable population, and unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has only made this more true. Besides being one of the hardest-hit age groups, the negative impacts of isolation can also have a detrimental impact on the well-being of older adults. Unfortunately, isolation also means that degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s can develop without being noticed early. While some people think that pursuing guardianship might be a good strategy if a loved one ends up in such a situation, in reality, guardianship may or may not be the best option. The Guardianship Process in Oklahoma Guardianship in Oklahoma can only be appointed by a court. Located at Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes, the state's guardianship laws require a person seeking guardianship to file the appropriate paperwork, pay court fees, and attend a court hearing. Guardianship is only granted over an adult when the adult is determined to be either fully or partially incapacitated. An incapacitated individual is someone who is over the age of 18 and not able to make competent decisions regarding their life. Oklahoma law acknowledges three types of guardianship. General guardians look over a person and all of his or her property, limited guardians exercise limited [...]

2020-09-25T15:58:41+00:00Tags: , |

The 2020 Presidential Election and Your Estate Plan

In 2020, many people had various parts of their lives changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With the United States presidential election scheduled for November 3 of this year, many of us are about to have our lives changed even more. As we anticipate this event, it is critical to review the terms of your estate plan. After all, estate plans should be reviewed periodically to make sure that the plan is capable of achieving your estate goals in a way that reflects existing laws. If you have not yet written your estate plan but are preparing to do so, you should create your estate plan in consideration of these potential changes. While there is no saying how the election will unfold, you can take the time now to make sure your estate plan accurately reflects any necessary changes.   How the 2020 Election Could Change Things   If the Republican Party prevails in the election, the party has proposed few changes and will instead maintain existing estate planning taxes as they are under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts. In contrast, if the Democratic party prevails in the election, they have proposed several critical changes to [...]

2020-09-25T15:51:06+00:00Tags: , , |

Estate Planning Basics as Children Head Back to School During the Pandemic

Oklahoma public schools are poised to return on August 10th. Understandably, going back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic has given many people time to think about the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Even if you work somewhere other than a school or hospital, back to school is one of the best times of the year to make sure that everything in your house is in order, including your estate plan.    Why You Need an Estate Plan   While many people think of wills when they think of estate planning, there are many other critical documents that a person should utilize to plan for death or incapacity. While it is a great first step to write these documents, it is just as good an idea to continuously revisit these documents after they are created to make sure that they still reflect your intentions.   Other Documents to Consider Including in Your Estate Plan   Besides a will, some of the other valuable documents that you should consider utilizing as a part of your estate plan include:   Trusts: There are many kinds of trusts that can be utilized to achieve various purposes. Most trusts involve a designated individual [...]

2020-08-08T01:50:34+00:00Tags: , |

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 [...]

2020-05-12T12:06:43+00:00Tags: |

Ways to Revise Your IRA After the Secure Act

In December 2019, the SECURE Act was signed into legislation. This regulation is one of the most substantial changes to have occurred in the last few years. As a result of the SECURE Act, IRAs and required monthly distributions can end up having a substantial impact on your estate plans. It is critical to understand how you might consider revising your estate plan to reflect these changes.  Know What the SECURE Act Does Before you make any changes to your estate plan in light of the SECURE Act, you should appreciate what changes result from this new law. The SECURE Act has two substantial benefits for people interested in retirement planning at the price of increased obstacles for heirs. These changes include: There is no longer an age limit for IRA contributions. This means that people can continue to save for retirement past the age of 70.  Required minimum distributions now begin at the age of 72 rather than 70.5. This change gives accounts additional time to mature, which means that savings will be as large as possible.  With the exception of spouses, “stretch” IRAs which allow beneficiaries to stretch out IRA distributions over their lifetime are removed. Now non-spouse [...]

2020-02-24T22:50:06+00:00Tags: , , |

Second Marriages and Estate Planning

Grey divorce refers to the end of marriages of people in their 50s and 60s. While it is true that the overall divorce rate in the United States has declined, the rate of divorce among this segment of the population is increasing. Another large group of older individuals is also finding love a second time around and getting remarried. If you are among the people getting divorced or remarried later in life, it is a wise idea to review your estate planning documents and make sure that they will still help you to achieve your goals.  The following will review some important factors that you should consider to ensure that your estate plan will provide for your loved ones. As you begin to structure your estate plan around your new marriage, it is a wise idea to remember that this type of estate planning is not done to be unromantic, but rather to reduce the risk that your estate ends up administered in a way that you do not desire. Trusts can Play a Valuable Role in Second Marriages If you want to both protect your assets and make sure that these valuables ultimately pass on to your loved ones, [...]

What to do Now That You Have an Estate Plan

If you have finally made the substantial step of creating an estate plan, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are done planning for the future. In reality, you are not finished yet. Instead, there are several important steps that you should take to make sure that your estate plans are properly maintained. Monitor Asset Ownership Your estate plan should consider how you own your assets. In many cases, you will likely want your loved ones to be able to easily access your assets in case something suddenly happens to you. It might be a good idea to create joint ownership with accounts or take other efforts to define who can access details about your accounts. Regardless of what options you choose, it is important to understand that asset management is often one of the most critical issues following a person’s death or incapacity. Monitor Beneficiary Designations Beneficiary designations are important for deciding how assets that are not included in your will pass on to beneficiaries. Some of the most common accounts where beneficiary designations are found include 401(k)s and IRAs. It is a good idea to routinely check beneficiary designations to make sure that [...]

2019-12-05T21:53:13+00:00Tags: , |

Understanding When it is Time to Change Special Needs Plans

One of the greatest mistakes that many people make about special needs plans are thinking that estate planning is a one-and-done process. Even after properly appointing a guardian, trustee, health care proxy, and other necessary agents for a special needs plan, there are still circumstances that can arise and necessitate a change of these documents.    The following will review some important steps to follow to make sure that agent designations on special needs documents are properly updated.   Routinely Review Your Special Needs Plan   It is a wise idea to review your special needs agent appointment on a routine basis. It is also a good idea to stay in constant communication with your special needs agent. This is because changes inevitably occur that will change the appropriateness of your selection. The problem, however, comes in deciding how often you should review your estate planning decisions. Once a year is a reasonable guideline for reviewing these plans.    When to Change Special Need Agents   Even if you routinely review special needs documents, it can be challenging to determine exactly when to replace an agent. You should consider replacing a special needs agent any time after there has been [...]

2019-11-07T23:03:11+00:00Tags: , |