probate

Three Ways to Reduce Probate Costs

Planning for your death or incapacity might be uncomfortable, but it is the best way to make things easier for your surviving loved ones. By failing to take adequate precautions now, you leave your estate open to additional costs during the probate process. The following reviews some of the most common mistakes people make that leave their estates vulnerable to additional probate costs. Mistaking Estate Taxes for Probate Federal estate taxes apply to estates that are $11.58 million or greater in value. This threshold, however, is different from the probate process. A person whose estate might be still enough to avoid federal estate taxes will still be subject to probate. Not only is probate costly, but it is also a time-consuming process.  It is a good idea to utilize the appropriate estate planning strategies to avoid probate or at least decrease the amount of assets that must go through this process. Not Having an Appropriate Will Approximately 60% of adults in this country do not have any type of estate plan. If you die without an estate plan, your estate will proceed through probate court, which will be a costly and lengthy process. Another large group of people has estate     Read More

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Learning from the Estate Planning Mistakes of Aretha Franklin

While Aretha Franklin is remembered as an extraordinarily talented musician, she made some significant estate planning mistakes from which we can all learn. When Franklin died in August of 2018, she did not leave a will or any type of estate plan despite having four children, including one with special needs. If you fail to leave an estate plan, it means that your inheritance will not be distributed in the way that you intended. If you need any type of estate planning assistance, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. A Large Number of Americans Die Without Estate Plans Caring.com released a study in 2017 that found a large number of Americans die without a living trust or will. The most common reason why individuals claim they do not create these estate planning documents is that they simply have not gotten around to it yet. There are many reasons why people delay creating estate plans including the emotional unpleasantness of having to make end-of-life decisions. Other individuals think that because they do not have a large inheritance, creating an estate plan is not important. In reality, everyone should be concerned about proper estate planning because     Read More

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Seven Signs that Joint Tenancy is Right for You

There are several ways in which a person can retain interest in a piece of property in the state of Oklahoma. Depending on the facts surrounding property ownership, a person should make a determination about what piece of property is right for him or her. One of the most common types of property ownership, joint ownership, refers to when two or more individuals retain ownership rights in a piece of property. This article will review some of the reasons why joint ownership of property might be right for you. The Survivor Element of Joint Ownership In joint tenancy properties in Oklahoma, when a co-owner dies, that person’s property interest passes to the surviving owners. While some people might be okay with this type of property arrangement, other individuals are not. Despite this feature, it is important for property owners to remember that joint tenancy is not a substitute for a will. A will is required to dispose of any other types of ownership rights that might be associated with this property. Ownership Rights can be Transferred to Third Parties If a property owner transfers his or her title to another person, the purchaser obtains only an undivided one-half interest in     Read More

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Common Mistakes Made During the Probate Process

Many people have questions about the probate process. Some of the most common questions relate to appointing a fiduciary, when a fiduciary must begin performing his or her duties, and what will happen if a fiduciary does not act in accordance with someone’s wishes. As a result of these questions and many others, individuals often find the probate process to be overwhelming. To help individuals prepare for navigating the probate process, this article will discuss five of the most common mistakes that are made and how to avoid them. Not Maintaining a Piece of Property Some executors are unprepared for the significant responsibility that accompanies a house or large piece of land. Even though an executor might have the purest of intentions to make sure that a piece of property is adequately maintained, sometimes executors are overwhelmed and unprepared for such a responsibility. If the property is not adequately maintained, it may decline in value. The best way to avoid this mistake is to make sure that the executor understands the significant duties that come with temporarily holding property for a beneficiary. Not Keeping Adequate Records For executors, it is critical to make sure that all elements of the probate     Read More

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Advantages of Estate Planning for Business Owners

A person’s estate plan has the capacity to contain critical information about what should be done with a person’s estate after his or her death. In nearly every situation, it is critical that a person begins estate planning as soon as possible because it is impossible to determine when catastrophe will strike or death will occur. For business owners, this type of planning is even more important because a significant amount of many business owners’ wealth is directly connected to their companies. As a result, the strength and nature of a business owner’s estate plan dictates how that business will be transitioned between generations and either cause a great deal of money to be lost or gained based on how the transfer occurs. This article will discuss some of the particular advantages that estate planning tools offer for business owners. Advantage #1: Estate Tax Reduction An estate tax is a tax that is placed on the estate of a deceased individual. These taxes can represent a large amount, and in some cases can cost up to 50% of a business’s value. Various elements of the Internal Revenue Service’s codes, however, allow individuals to use probate tools to minimize the amount     Read More

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How Long Will Probate Take?

OKC Probate Attorney Jim A. Lyon provides legal services for probates and estates. There are alot of common questions regarding probate law. One of the most common questions is 'How long will probate take?'. There is, unfortunately, no universal answer to how long the probate process in Oklahoma will be. There are a variety of elements that influence exactly how long each probate will take. One of the best ways to limit the length of the probate process is to retain the assistance of skilled legal counsel. Another way to anticipate the length of probate is to understand the various factors that can affect the length of the process. Factors that Influence the Length of Probate There are numerous factors that can influence how long the probate process takes, but some of the most common factors that influence this process include the following: The Location of the Personal Representative: When personal representatives live close to the attorney, it can be easier for individuals to quickly visit legal counsel at a moment’s notice resulting in a quicker process. The Number of Beneficiaries: The more beneficiaries that are involved in the case, the longer the probate process will often take. The reason for     Read More

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Techniques for Avoiding Probate

When individuals die without having an adequate estate plan in place, their estates will proceed through the probate process. Probate has the disadvantage of sometimes lasting for a long period of time. Fortunately, there are some methods that individuals can use to avoid the probate process. A skilled attorney will be able to help an individual determine the various methods necessary to avoid the probate process. Designate Beneficiaries in Retirement Accounts There are some assets that a person has that will pass on after his or her death in accordance with terms other than those found in a will. Many other estate planning devices allow individuals to name beneficiaries, including retirement accounts. Despite the power of these documents, many individuals do not list beneficiaries for bank accounts or retirement plans. By making sure to designate beneficiaries for retirement accounts, individuals can make sure that these assets avoid the probate process. The biggest obstacle presented by this method is making sure that the proper beneficiaries are listed because these roles may sometimes change due to death, divorce, or other major life events. Gifting Avoids the Probate Process By giving away property prior to death, a person can avoid the probate process.     Read More

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