Teague & Wetsel, PLLC
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Edmond Estate Planning Blog

Benefits of long-term care planning

No one really wants to think about what will happen to them when they get old. It's hard to picture ourselves as getting old and needing additional care, plus it's not a very upbeat topic. But, if long-term care planning is not completed, a person can lose a lot of their assets to pay for their necessary medical care.

Long-term care planning is very important for Oklahoma residents. The earlier this planning occurs, the better because the earlier a person starts to consider their long-term care options, the more options they will have. Long-term care is qualified as in-home care, assisted living or skilled nursing care. Many people, when they get older, require this specialized care, but it comes at a great cost. Knowing that these costs are in many people's future can help them understand the importance of long-term care planning.

Order of payments in the probate of an estate

When person dies in Oklahoma, many times their estate will go through probate. It is during this time that the estate is settled under court supervision. In general, once an estate has a personal representative assigned, they are able to gather the estate's assets and creditor information.

Once an estate executor has been named, they have a number of duties. In general, they will have to gather the estate's assets and notify creditors and beneficiaries. They also must notify all creditors, including credit cards, mortgage companies and loans, among others.

Common estate planning mistakes to try to avoid

Most Oklahoma residents know how important estate planning is to protect a person's assets and honor their wishes. Estate planning is important for almost every resident in the state. It can be important to keep in mind common estate planning mistakes in case they apply to a person's situation.

One of the most common mistakes a family makes is not having an estate plan at all. Although many people don't want to think about their eventual death, not having a plan can be devastating for a family. Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of age, to safeguard a person's assets, children and spouse. Another mistake is not updating a will on a regular basis. After a major life event, like a move, added children, divorce, etc. a will needs to be updated to reflect these changes. It can also be a mistake to assume that the family will always get along.

What rights do Oklahoma landlords have?

Those who own real estate in Oklahoma that they rent out know how stressful it can be. There are many laws in place to protect tenants, but landlords also have rights.

Almost every landlord will have to evict a tenant at some point. Many times, an eviction occurs because a tenant has not paid rent. While state laws vary, in general if a tenant does not pay rent, a landlord needs to give notice for payment within a certain number of days. If, following that, rent still hasn't been paid, a landlord can sue for eviction. A tenant may also be evicted if they violate the terms of the lease or they break the law, such as engaging in illegal drug activity. A landlord has the right to use their renter's security deposit damages or unpaid rent after the lease has ended, but this must be provided to the renter in an itemized statement. If the renter does not request their security deposit back in six months, the landlord may keep the deposit.

What duties do Oklahoma landlords have?

Owning real estate has long been a part of the "American Dream." In a state like Oklahoma, with large tracts of land, and a history of homesteading, land ownership can be a way not only to gain some prestige, but perhaps make some money as well. Owning a piece of property that one rents to others can be either a nice "side hustle" or a full-time job. While owning such types of property come with privileges, it also comes with responsibilities.

The common law placed upon a landlord a very generalized responsibility called the "implied warranty of habitability." According to this doctrine, even if the landlord did not specifically agree, he had the duty to maintain a property he was renting to a tenant in a condition such that the tenant could live in peace and some minimum standard of comfort. While the level of this standard varied based upon time and place, the idea of the warranty of habitability has come down to us in modern times.

Full disclosure when selling a home

Selling a home is a daunting task. There is usually much to do to make the house attractive to potential buyers, and maybe you apply a new coat of paint or replace the carpeting. You might even opt for more extensive renovations or replace outdated appliances, hoping to recoup the cost with a good price.

However, while making your home appealing to buyers, you may be tempted to cover some evidence of defects. Does that coat of paint cover a stain from a leaking pipe? Does the carpet hide a slope in the floor from a shifting foundation? What are the potential consequences of hiding defects in your home?

Are you a veteran who needs help with pension issues?

Veterans are valued members of society in Oklahoma and across the United States. Their service and sacrifice is appreciated by a grateful nation, and they deserve to be treated well. A veteran may be entitled to numerous financial benefits because of their service.

Our veterans may be eligible for many veterans' benefits, including pensions. But, navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to apply for these benefits can be complicated. Our law firm is accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and we understand the rules behind veterans' benefits. This means we are well equipped to handle veterans' pension issues. We can offer our advice and help a veteran pursue the pension benefits they need.

What are the differences between wills and trusts?

Oklahoma residents who are thinking about estate planning know that there are many estate planning terms that are thrown around. Estate planning encompasses many different subjects, depending on a family's need. Wills and trusts are often the most popular estate planning tools.

A will designates a personal representative for an estate and lists who will get a person's property after their death. A will goes into effect after a person dies, while a trust goes into effect immediately. A trust can distribute property before a person dies, at their death or after. A trust has one person who has legal title of property, the trustee, for another person, the beneficiary. There is one set of beneficiaries who receive income during their lives and another set of beneficiaries who receive income after the first set of beneficiaries dies. A trust also only covers property that is in the trust. A will goes through probate after a person dies while a trust does not. With a will a person can also name guardians for their children and specify funeral arrangements which a trust cannot do.

Do you qualify for disability benefits?

Most Oklahoma residents know the value of work and enjoy going to work every day and making a living for their family. Having a job is an important task for adults. But, when a person is injured and no longer able to work they may be eligible for disability benefits.

Oklahoma residents who are not able to work due to a physical or mental condition may qualify for either Social Security Disability or supplemental security income. There are a number of medical conditions that a person can have and qualify for one of these programs. These may include back injuries, heart failure, COPD, hearing or vision loss, immune system disorders, mental disorders, cancer and many others. The Social Security agency has an impairment listing manual that lists all of the disorders that will qualify an individual for benefits.

How will your estate plan affect the probate process?

Considering how to best take care of your family may occupy a great deal of your time. You work to ensure they have everything they need to live comfortably and thrive. What about after you pass away? You may have considered taking care of your family in the event of your death, and you may have begun researching the best way to do that.

When you start to consider how to structure your estate plan, it also helps to understand how your plan will fare during the probate process. This not only affects how quickly your family receives the assets you want them to have, but it also affects the amount of work and stress your surviving family members will need to endure while they grieve for your loss.


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Edmond, OK 73013

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