estate planning

How to Make Sure Estate Planning Wishes are Carried Out

When tasked with estate planning, individuals with many assets often face unique challenges, which include planning for how certain assets will be passed on to subsequent generations. Many people discover that they have a variety of questions regarding how to best handle their assets. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you think about how your assets should be handled as well as how to ensure your beneficiaries receive everything to which they are entitled.  This article reviews some strategies that individuals with large estates should consider implementing to make sure that their wishes are fully carried out. Have Conversations About How Assets Should be Handled One of the biggest challenges that individuals have regarding estate planning is that they are never sure how to bring up the conversation with their family and loved ones. In reality, it is never too early to begin having conversations with your loved ones about estate planning.  When you do have these conversations, you should make sure that they include everyone who might be involved in your estate. Many individuals with large estate choose to make estate planning lawyers, wealth advisors, and other estate planning professionals part of these conversations, as well.  The goal     Read More

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New Parents Need Wills

It is understandable that as a new parent, you want the best possible life for your child. Among the many things that new parents think about, wills are often one of the last. In reality, though, creating a will is an important step to take for your family’s future. The following will review just a few of the important things that new parents need to know about wills. Always Make Sure to Clearly State Your Intentions Wills, as well as other estate planning documents, are best viewed as instruction manuals for your executor and the court to follow after your death. You must clearly express your intentions regarding your wishes, or a New York court will likely interpret how your estate should be administered.  Beneficiaries on Financial Accounts Play an Important Role Most financial accounts allow a person to name a beneficiary. After you pass away, the funds pass to the beneficiary who is named on the account. If you create a will with a child in mind, it is a good idea to review your financial accounts to make sure that you have not named any inconsistent beneficiaries elsewhere. Name an Executor You can Trust To make sure that     Read More

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Answers to Commonly Asked Inheritance Questions

Receiving an inheritance can change a person’s life, so it should come as no surprise that people often have questions about how inheritances are received. The following will provide some details about how inheritances work.   What Happens if You Die Without a Will?   When a person dies without a will, the individuals who inherit from the estate are determined by Oklahoma intestacy law. Many people believe that if a person dies without a will, that individual’s spouse will inherit everything in the estate. Exactly who inherits, however, depends on several critical factors including the value of an estate and how assets are held.    What Happens if the Terms of a Will are Violated?   If a will is valid under Oklahoma law, it must be followed unless doing so would violate another law. If a will is not followed, an interested party can file a petition and raise the issue in front of a probate judge.    What Happens if Someone Misuses Estate Property?   There are probate laws in Oklahoma that create strategies to block an individual from misusing or taking estate property. If you end up in this situation, however, it is important to immediately     Read More

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Estate Planning Strategies for the Modern Family

One of the greatest challenges created in applying estate planning advice to individual situations is that many estate plans assume that a person’s family structure is identical to a conventional one. A lot has changed since the days of Leave It to Beaver, though. Today’s environment much more closely resembles the television show Modern Family with second marriages, same-sex marriages, and multi-generational planning.    Today, approximately only 35% of American families are comprised of traditional heterosexual married individuals with children. The estate planning strategies that all the other families need are very different from what conventional families do. The following will review some of the important estate planning strategies that should be implemented by modern families.    Begin by Understanding   You should begin with estate planning by understanding that non-traditional families are becoming much more common. Some of the issues that you should consider include whether non-marital or adopted children could unintentionally be excluded from your estate plan. You should also consider whether you are leaving individuals out of your estate plan who believe that they should be beneficiaries.    One way to make sure that your estate plans are transferred per your wishes is to carefully select the     Read More

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Five Important Facts about Estate Planning and Taxes in 2019

There are many reasons to review your estate planning documents periodically. One event that should prompt you to pull out your estate planning documents is any revision made to the tax system. If you are reviewing your estate planning documents this year, consider the following tax issues that might impact you and your beneficiaries. Many Tax Exemptions are Only Temporary It is important to remember that several current tax exemptions are merely temporary. While the $11.4 million per individual transfer tax exemption is attractive, it will not last forever. After 2025, this exemption will return to $6 million per individual. This is not the only temporary part of the current tax code, however. It is critical for anyone planning for the future to create flexible estate planning strategies and consider these factors. An experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure that you are on the right track. IRA Beneficiaries If a person inherits an IRA, the distribution requirements depend on whether the beneficiary is a spouse or non-spouse. Spouses have the choice of rolling IRA assets into an inherited IRA or their own IRA accounts. Non-spousal beneficiaries are often required to either withdraw all funds from the IRA within five     Read More

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Adding Religious Beliefs to an Estate Plan

In addition to passing on their assets, many parents would also like to pass on their ethics and spiritual beliefs to their children. Fortunately, a comprehensive estate plan can provide you with the opportunity to achieve these goals.  This article reviews some of the powerful ways that you can add a degree of spirituality to your estate plan. End-of-Life Medical Decisions One of the most common types of estate planning documents is Medical Powers of Attorney, which allow a loved one to make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. As a result, you can make sure that your appointed agent has religious beliefs that are similar to your own.  Closely related to Medical Powers of Attorney are Living Wills, which allow a person to articulate the type of life-prolonging care that they would like to receive in case life support becomes necessary. Many people discover that their faith has a profound impact on how these documents are written.  These estate planning documents also allow a person to express their opinion about organ donation and religious rites, which are other important spiritual issues.  Burial and Funeral Plans No matter what your spiritual perspective is on death, you can express     Read More

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Ways to Add Flexibility to a Trust

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of December 2017 offered a number of advantages to individuals who are interested in estate planning. This new law, however, is not without its limitations. For example, many of the provisions included in the act will expire in 2025. As a result, it is critical to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your planning techniques will carry you through. One helpful technique is to make sure to include provisions in trusts that make them flexible and capable of adapting to changes in your life circumstances as well as the law. The following will review some of the most helpful strategies that can be used to make trusts flexible. Decanting The decanting process involves moving assets from an old trust into a new one that better reflects current circumstances or which contains more advantageous terms. It is even possible to use the decanting process to alter irrevocable trusts, which generally are not capable of being altered.  While many states have laws allowing the decanting process, Oklahoma currently does not.  Even though it is currently not possible to decant a trust in Oklahoma, if your estate will likely be administered elsewhere, it is     Read More

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Oklahoma Retirement Documents

Getting used to retirement can be challenging. You might feel anxiety, fear, and stress as you transition into a new phase of your life. In addition to these complex emotions, you have some practical matter to grapple with, as well. It is important and necessary to have your finances in order as you enter retirement, and have a solid plan for your health care and administration of your estate, should the unexpected arise. Your planning should involve creating and keeping safe all of the necessary legal documents to make sure that your goals are achieved.  The following will review some of the important documents that you should include in your estate planning.  Wills The most common type of estate planning document is the will. Wills are legal documents that allow us to express our wishes regarding how our assets and property should be distributed after our deaths as well as who will care for any minor children. Despite the great importance of wills, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that approximately four out of 10 individuals in the United States have a will. Some people are wary of creating a will because it involves acknowledging one’s own mortality.     Read More

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Estate Planning Tips From George Washington

One of the many topics followed by this blog concerns recent developments in the area of estate planning. There are some invaluable lessons, however, that a person can learn from Founding Father, George Washington. A review of Washington’s will provides a shining example of how to address issues of communication, clarity, and customization when estate planning. George Washington’s Estate Plans As part of his will and last testament, which became effective in 1799, George Washington articulated his vision for the future. First, Washington bequeathed the use of his estate to his wife and first lady, Martha Washington. Additionally, George Washington used his will to forgive the debts of many of his family members. Furthermore, Washington established a school for orphans and passed on stock.  While Washington passed away over 200 years ago, the goals achieved by his will and last testament are relevant today. Clocking in at over 5,500 words, the will is also remarkably precise. While your estate planning might not require the same degree of care that George Washington’s plans did, there are still some valuable lessons that can be learned from his estate plan documents. The terms of Washington’s last will and testament will hopefully be a     Read More

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What are Bypass Trusts?

Establishing an effective estate plan is one of the best ways to make sure that your assets are properly handled following your death. Based on the exact details of your situation, it is worth considering whether a bypass trust would be able to help achieve your goals.  The following will take a brief look at what bypass trusts are as well as some of the benefits that can be taken advantage of through the use of this estate planning tool.  How Bypass Trusts Operate Bypass trusts are legal agreements that offer married couples the opportunity to avoid estate taxes after a spouse passes away. When one spouse passes away, an estate’s assets are divided into two separate trusts. One trust is categorized as marital, while the second is a bypass trust. Marital trusts are revocable and belong to the surviving spouse. The terms of revocable trusts are capable of being changed by the individual who created the trust. Bypass trusts, however, are irrevocable and their terms cannot be changed.  Surviving spouses often act as the trustees of bypass trusts. It is the duty of a trustee to make sure that assets from a couple’s estate are appropriately divided into each     Read More

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