estate plan

SECURE Act Results in Major Estate Planning Changes

In December 2019, President Trump signed a two-part bill that funds the federal government through 2020. Among the many parts of this bill is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act results in major changes to rules related to individual and employer-sponsored retirement accounts and will likely result in many estate plans being substantially altered to incorporate retirement accounts. This article reviews some of the biggest changes that you should understand about the SECURE Act and how it might impact your existing estate plans. # 1 - Required Minimum Distribution Now Begin at 72 Before the SECURE Act, traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored plans were subject to Required Minimum Distribution Rules. Distributions from these plans often must begin by April 1 of the year after either the participant turns 70 and a half or the year in which the participant retires. Under the SECURE Act, distributions must be made after the participant turns 72 provided the individual has not reached the age of 70 and a half by December 31, 2019. This change allows people who do not require funds from their IRAs or retirement accounts to achieve an additional period of tax-deferred growth. #     Read More

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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,     Read More

How Life Insurance can Help After a Divorce

A large number of marriages do not last. Not only is the ensuing divorce process emotionally challenging, but it also introduces many stressful challenges. One often overlooked complication that many people must navigate during this time involves estate planning. One particularly helpful strategy that can be utilized during this time is obtaining life insurance. The following will take a brief look at some of the benefits that people realize through the use of life insurance during this difficult time. Provide Funds for the Divorce Process If a divorce involves hostile partners or includes child custody issues, the process can take an extended time. During this time, it is common to incur several fees. If you have an established life insurance policy, it is possible to take withdrawals or loans from the policy’s cash value to pay for these expenses. If the policy is designed effectively, clients will not be required to liquidate other assets or pull money from an estate that would have been passed on to beneficiaries.  Protect Your Income After a Divorce It is common to discover that your income substantially changes after a divorce. To help the lower-earning spouse transition to life after divorce, courts award alimony     Read More

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Techniques to Strengthen Your Estate Plan

If a person passes away in Oklahoma without an adequate estate plan, established Oklahoma probate laws will determine how the person’s estate is divided. Despite this fact, many people pass away without creating adequate estate plans.  If you have created an estate plan, however, it is often not the case that there are no additional steps to take. The following will break down some important strategies you should utilize to further strengthen your estate plan. Keep Beneficiary Designations Up to Date Probate is a costly and lengthy process, but there are fortunately some types of accounts that can be passed on without having to go through this process. Instead, these assets are passed in terms of beneficiary designations. As far as beneficiary designations are concerned, it is often possible to divide accounts.  It is often a good idea to review these forms every few years particularly after major events like births, deaths, or divorces occur. By making sure that your beneficiary designations are up to date, you can make sure that your assets properly transferred to your loved ones. Utilize Life Insurance  Life insurance exists for several reasons including to protect against the loss of income in case someone passes     Read More

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Reasons to Estate Plan Before the End of Your Life

It can be challenging to prepare for the numerous complications that can arise during a person’s life. It is just as important to perform adequate planning for the end of a person’s life. Adequate estate planning is invaluable because it can remove the uncertainty about how a person’s estate will be handled following his or her death.  While many people falsely believe otherwise, estate planning is important for more than just the richest individuals. Instead, estate planning can play a valuable role in the lives of all people, rich or poor. Even if you have a small estate, adequate planning is also still particularly helpful.  To make sure that you fully address the numerous issues concerning estate planning, the following will address some of the important issues you should make sure to consider. Who Will Care for Minor Children Because minor children are unable to make decisions on their own, it is important to appoint a conservator who will make decisions about who will watch over these children in case something happens to you.  The conservator will often be tasked with managing all of the assets that you intend to pass to your children to make sure that these resources     Read More

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Tips for Family Business Succession Planning

Statistics compiled by Forbes reveal that approximately 80 to 90% of businesses in the United States are either owned or controlled by families.  Other data reveals that only one third of these businesses survive into the second generation of a family and that only 10% of businesses make it to the third generation.  One of the reasons why businesses are not successfully passed between generations is lack of adequate estate planning. It is important to remember that there is simply no universal estate plan that works for every business, which is why options like online estate planning often does not work.  Instead, it is critical to carefully consider the various ways to pass ownership of a business between family members. Obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer who can help guide you in creating the right business succession plan. The following will review some helpful tips that you should remember when creating a strong succession plan for a family-owned business.  Consider Changing the Business Structure If a business is structured as a sole proprietorship or a partnership, it is important to remember that these entities are viewed as comparable to personal assets of the owner and cannot be     Read More

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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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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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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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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