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Estate Planning Tips for Business Owners as 2021 Comes to an End

test test The last two years have presented a variety of challenges for business owners due in no small part to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a business owner, you have strived and painstakingly worked to create a successful business. As a result, when it comes to leaving behind your company or your assets, you understandably want to do so in the best way possible. Having a good estate plan is the best way to make sure that your goals for the future are achieved. Estate plans are not written in stone, though. As 2021 draws to an end, there are some important estate planning strategies that you should consider.  Review the Terms of Your Estate Plan Due to ongoing federal legislation developments as well as potential life events that might have occurred, your estate plan likely needs to be revised accordingly. Most recently, the Build Back Better Act was passed and requires certain estate plan updates. If you need assistance, attorney Lyon can help you review your current estate plan to assess whether your goals can be met under existing legislation or whether you will need to make modifications to achieve your goals.  Consider Your Business’s Relationship to [...]

2022-01-24T12:05:08+00:00Tags: , |

Guarding Business Assets Against Creditors 

If you own a business, you have likely spent countless hours working to achieve your dreams. You understandably want to do everything possible to avoid having creditors seize your assets, particularly before you transfer these assets to the next generation. Fortunately, several options can be utilized to protect your assets. Before discussing these strategies, you should appreciate that asset protection plays a critical role in protecting your estate from creditors as well as many types of lawsuits. Regardless of the size of your asset or how careful you are, no one is above facing these actions. You should take proactive steps to create an estate plan before you end up facing legal actions or creditor efforts. The following are some techniques that you might utilize based on your situation.  The Three Types of Business Ownership Based on the structure of your business, you might have sufficient protection from creditors or no protection at all. If you want to fully protect your assets, you should weigh the value of changing your business’s ownership structure. Remember, three primary types of business entities are: C Corporations. These corporations offer limited liability exposure to personal assets owned by the principals. No personal liability under [...]

2021-11-19T01:14:44+00:00Tags: , , |

Oklahoma Eliminates Durable Power of Healthcare Attorney

As a result of legislation passed earlier this year, starting on November 1, 2021, residents of Oklahoma can no longer appoint a durable power of attorney (POA) for healthcare. Due to this legislation, any durable power of healthcare attorney executed before November 1, 2021 should still be viewed as valid, but any durable power of healthcare attorney that is entered into after that date will no longer be viewed as valid under Oklahoma state law. Hospitals and other types of medical facilities in the state will now take into consideration the terms reflected in durable power of healthcare attorney documents but will no longer afford these estate planning documents full consideration when it comes to making decisions. Several hospitals in the state have already requested that the Oklahoma legislature reinstate the durable power of healthcare attorney, however.  A Quick Guide to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act During the 2021 legislative session, House Bill 2548 created the new Oklahoma Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which canceled the provisions of the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act that allowed individuals the power to utilize a durable POA for healthcare. HB 2548, however, cancels the power to make healthcare decisions and limits [...]

2021-11-08T15:18:32+00:00Tags: , |

Deciding Whether to Leave Assets to Your Grandchildren

As you age, it is common to think about the financial well-being of your family, including your youngest family members. This might include not just children, but also grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Assets passed on to these family members can then be used to pay for things like college funds or purchasing a first home.  Deciding whether to pass assets on to grandchildren requires weighing several options. Each family is unique, and when it comes to creating an estate plan to benefit your loved ones, you should consider how to tackle your grandchildren’s needs without creating any subsequent legal challenges or tax burdens.  Trusts Can Prove Particularly Helpful If you have one or more grandchildren who are minors, you might decide to pass assets to a trust. You also might then decide to appoint a person or financial entity to manage the trust for you. Trusts can help permit a person to address their wishes.  Assets Need Not be Distributed Equally If you have multiple grandchildren, you can choose between passing on assets in an equal or unequal manner. Some people decide to pass on the same amount of assets to each grandchild to avoid feelings of jealousy or hurt among [...]

2021-10-18T20:46:52+00:00Tags: , , |

Advice on Avoiding Probate

Many people have heard of probate, and those who have heard of the word likely know that they want to avoid it. You also might be uncertain about why you should avoid probate, as well as what probate entails. Unfortunately, if probate is not properly anticipated, it can be unexpectedly costly as well as time-consuming. Here are some reasons why it can prove advantageous to create assets that bypass probate as well as the downside of what the process entails. What Probate Means Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone passes away. Overseen by a court, probate is a multi-step process. The probate process involves establishing in court that a deceased person’s will is valid and then identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property. Subsequently, property is assessed to determine its value. Afterward, any outstanding debts or taxes are paid off. Lastly, the remaining assets in the deceased person’s estate will be distributed either according to the terms of a will or according to state law if no will exists or a will has not been established as valid. The probate process involves a substantial amount of paperwork as well as the appearances of lawyers.  The purpose of [...]

Tips to Reduce the Risk of an Estate Planning Crisis

Regardless of what assets you currently, it is a good idea to consider having some legal documents written to address what will happen when you become incapacitated or pass away. All too often, family members are left in a frantic and undesirable situation after a loved one passes away or has a medical crisis. The following are some helpful steps that you can follow to avoid creating an estate planning crisis for your loved ones. Created a Detailed Trust One of the best ways to avoid family disagreements after your passing is to create a living trust, which is a legal document that appoints a trustee, which is someone who will be responsible for your assets when you pass away or become incapacitated.  If you decide not to create a trust, the chances are much greater that your loved ones will end up in a disagreement about who should be responsible for managing your assets. When these matters must be resolved by a court, it results in additional fees for your estate. Your loved ones will have to wait much longer for a resolution and to collect any assets you have left for them.  If you choose to establish a [...]

2021-10-18T20:39:18+00:00Tags: |

What You Need to Know About Qualified State Tuition Plans

If you or a loved one plans on contributing money to the education of a child or grandchild, a qualified state tuition plan is an excellent idea to make the most out of your contribution. Each state has certain plans that address how you can tackle contributions including savings plans and prepaid tuition plans. The Role of Section 529 Saving plans involve tax-sheltered contribution techniques which are permitted under the Internal Revenue Code’s Section 529. These plans receive favorable income tax treatment provided withdrawals are used for permissible reasons. Another attractive feature of 529 plans is that they combine five years of annual exclusion gifts to one year. This ability lets the person who creates the 529 plan give minors an early and significant start toward paying for college.  The contributions to 529 plans must be made in cash. If you select an option to make five years of annual exclusion gifts, you will not be able to make other types of contributions to the plan or any other annual exclusion gifts until another four years have passed.  Oklahoma is just one of many states that permit investors to utilize 529 plans. The Internal Revenue Service also now permits the [...]

2021-10-01T19:53:35+00:00Tags: , |

What We Learn From Celebrities Who Have Failed to Estate Plan

At the time that he passed away, the award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had a limited estate plan. He only had a will that mentioned establishing a trust for his eldest son. Desiring his children to never become spoiled by large trust funds, however, Seymour Hoffman left the remainder of his estate to his girlfriend. Hoffman is far from the only celebrity who has made estate planning mistakes in recent history. Over the last few years, countless stories have emerged of actors, athletes, musicians, and other celebrities passing away without estate plans. Because estate planning laws must be followed by everyone — even famous people — intestate estates are ultimately distributed in a way that the deceased individual did not intend.  While you may not be a celebrity, there are some notable lessons to be learned from them about why you must make sure to adequately document your assets and establish an estate plan.  Crisis Planning It is a good idea to obtain the assistance of family members to help you navigate a crisis. Estate planning addresses what will happen if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated as well as what will happen after you pass away. If you are [...]

2021-09-09T15:17:45+00:00Tags: , |

Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Estate planning is one of the most difficult aspects of navigating the financial planning process. Among other complexities, no one likes to face the possibility that they will one day no longer be alive. Estate planning, however, is a critical process if you want to make sure that your assets are divided in the manner that you desire. MISTAKE: Not Estate Planning at All One of the most widespread problems with estate planning is that some people fail to engage in the process at all. There are various reasons why people decide not to engage in estate planning, such as the process’s complexity, a desire to avoid confronting mortality, and assuming that estate planning is unnecessary. In reality, most people can benefit from at least some type of estate planning.  MISTAKE: Believing You Do Not Have Enough Assets Many people fall into the trap of thinking that estate planning is only for people with a large number of assets. While it is true that some estate planning strategies should only be utilized by those with the largest estates, mostly all people can benefit from creating an estate plan. If a person does nothing else, writing a will is one method [...]

2021-08-26T20:35:43+00:00Tags: |

How to Tackle Estate Planning as a Married Person

Getting married is an exciting and memorable time in the lives of most people. As you prepare to get married or if you already have, there are likely some issues that you have only just begun to consider. There are some key details about estate planning that you should remember whether you recently got married or have been in a marriage for several decades. Be Open With Your Spouse One of the best places to begin when estate planning with your spouse is to be honest about your future and one another’s expectations. Not only does this include adequately planning for the future, but you should also make sure to address how you would like the situation handled if either one of you passed away.  Do Your Best to Equalize Estates People commonly overuse the marital deduction, which only ends up delaying the taxes that a person ends up facing. The spouse who is left with the couple’s estate should instead engage in some creative estate planning to reduce the amount of taxes that they will owe. Remember, a person can utilize the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption to pass some assets to a loved one without this amount [...]