estate plan modification

Deciding Whether to Update Your Estate Plan

If your life changes for reasons like death, divorce, marriage, or birth, you should make sure to update your estate plan. Unfortunately, while many people appreciate the importance of updating their estate plans, a large number of people fail to do so. While it is tempting to think of written documents as written in stone, in reality, estate planning is an evolving process. After undergoing several life changes, some people find that the terms of their estate plan have changed so much that they no longer fit the creator’s situation. Reviewing your estate plan every few years is one of the best ways to ensure that your needs and goals are met. Review Distribution Terms To make sure that your asset distributions goals are satisfied, you should review the terms found in your last will and testament or revocable trust. These estate planning documents address how your assets will be distributed at the time that you pass away. As your children age, these provisions might need revision based on the particular facts of each child’s circumstances. For example, one child might have special needs or another child might have a gambling addiction and would have a difficult time preserving assets.  [...]

2021-10-18T20:34:38+00:00Tags: |

Not Keeping Estate Plans Current Can Destroy Your Planning Goals

Nearly half of Americans who are over the age of 55 do not have a will. Only 18% of people in this age range have the recommended legacy planning elements, which include advanced health care directives and powers of attorney. While it remains uncertain how many people fail to update their estate plan routinely, this is likely also a large number. Estate planners often must invest a great deal of energy to establish estate and wealth plans that fit a person’s needs and make sure that their estate goals work together. As clients’ situations change, however, they often fail to inform estate planning lawyers so that adequate changes can be made to the corresponding documents.  Life Changes Warrant Updating Your Estate Plan After the births of new family members, deaths of close loved ones, and even after a divorce, the best practice is to update your estate plan. Over time, parents’ relationships with their children will change. Children can also encounter various problems throughout life that alter the way that a parent wants assets to be distributed. Changes in a child’s life can also end up influencing that child’s ability to act as an agent or trustee of a parent’s [...]

2021-10-01T19:49:44+00:00Tags: |

Making Critical Estate Planning Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

One of the many indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many people have begun to review their estate plan and assess whether things are in place for the unfortunate day when they become incapacitated or pass away. If you are one of the many people who has not taken the time recently to review your estate plan, this article reviews some helpful strategies to make updating your estate plan easier.  Keep Estate Planning Documents Organized and in One Place Many people know that they need to make various changes to their estate planning documents, but when it comes time to revise the documents struggle to find where important information is located. While details about a new birth in the family might be located in one location, other details about an appreciated asset might be located elsewhere. By doing your best to keep your documents organized and centralized, you can greatly cut down on the amount of time it takes to revise your estate plan. This holds even if you are relying on the assistance of an estate planning lawyer to make these changes.  Consider Triggering Moments A power of attorney refers to a legal document and legal relationship [...]

2021-05-05T02:58:01+00:00Tags: , |

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: , , |