Alzheimer’s and estate planning

Every Oklahoma resident likely knows someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s. This terrible disease affects millions each year. Planning ahead for a debilitating illness like Alzheimer’s or dementia can be a good idea. When a family is facing a major health challenge, it is emotionally draining as well as financially debilitating. A family may want to think ahead as to what they would do if someone is diagnosed with an incurable disease like Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s can have a huge financial impact on a family. Patients with Alzheimer’s require 24-hour care, which can be incredibly expensive. A carefully designed trust can ensure a family’s finances are protected if a person suffers from an expensive end-of-life disease. A person who has Alzheimer’s or dementia can easily be taken advantage of because of their lack of mental facilities. A trust can ensure

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Estate planning in 2018: Should you give more away?

Oklahoma residents who use gifting strategies within their estate plan may be aware of the recent changes that have occurred. Many families will need to make difficult decisions regarding how to gift their money to family members. Recently, Congress changed some laws regarding the gift exemption and estate tax exemption. With the December passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the lifetime gift exemption has doubled to $11.2 million for each individual. This amount has also doubled for couples to $22.4 million. These numbers are also the same for estate tax exemption. In regards to the gift exemption, gifting is a tax strategy many families use in order to avoid estate taxes. Although a family may be able to make these gifts, it is important to think about whether they should or not. Many times, just giving heirs money

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Differing types of Power of Attorney

Prior to engaging in any form of estate planning, individuals in Oklahoma often do not realize that there are several differing types of Power of Attorney (POA). They are used for differing purposes and situations. However, the single definition of “a document that speaks for a person when he or she cannot speak for themselves” is universal. For this reason, it is essential that a person, referred to as the “principal”, make a careful, well thought-out decision as to whom will be appointed as their representing “agent.” There are four types of Powers of Attorney. They are simple, durable, springing and health care or business. A simple POA immediately grants power to an agent to act on the principal’s behalf. It ends upon death of the principal, or upon determination of mental incompetency of the principal. A durable POA is

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How to transfer gas, oil and mineral rights into trusts

Estate planning is essential to the timely and less stressful administration of a decedent’s estate. For decedents in Oklahoma who owned oil, gas, or mineral rights, prior planning is especially recommended. These matters can quickly become a complicated situation if preparation was not made for the transfer of those rights prior to death. A great recommendation for the administration of these rights is for them to be placed into a living trust. This can be done in one of two ways, depending on the type of rights owned. If the real estate containing the gas, oil and mineral deposits is owned by the decedent as well, then the property can simply be deeded into the name of a trust. A new deed transferring ownership would simply need to be drafted, executed and recorded with the probate clerk. If the decedent

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Estate planning for farm successions

Although Oklahoma farmers cannot plan for the weather, they can plan for their farm succession. A solid transition plan is critical in making sure a farmer’s wishes are established for the next generation. A farm succession plan focuses on the future of the farm. When creating a succession plan, a farmer should focus on what the end result should be. This may include the future visions of the farm, income needed for retirement and health care and whether or not the farmer wants to stay involved in the farm operations. A farm succession plan may include transferring ownership to a family member, liquidating farm assets, selling the property or renting or leasing land and equipment. Risks need to be evaluated as well including cash flow problems, unresolved issues among family members and retirement funds. A legal professional familiar with estate

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Five estate planning documents a person needs

Oklahoma residents understand the value of estate planning. An estate plan is a wonderful tool to ensure a person’s assets are transferred to the next generation in the person’s desired manner. It can also be used to communicate a person’s health care wishes. Although many may think estate planning is only for the wealthy, there are five documents almost everyone needs. Regardless of the amount of a person’s assets or the person’s age, one important document everyone needs is a durable power of attorney. This document authorizes another person to act on their behalf if they become in capacitated. Advanced medical directives are also important. They dictate medical treatments that a person wants if they are not able to communicate their wishes. Advanced medical directives include a living will, power of attorney for health care and a Do Not Resuscitate

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You don’t have to make your loved ones wait for probate

You have a multitude of decisions to make when you create an estate plan, and it’s important to have as much relevant information as possible. Without the right guidance, you may not end up with the plan you intended. For example, it’s important understand that if your estate needs to go through probate, it could take months for your loved ones to get access to the assets you want them to have. If one of your goals is to provide your surviving family members with the means to support themselves, you may need to structure your plan in a way that keeps your estate assets out of probate. The utility of a revocable living trust Trusts aren’t only for celebrities and billionaires. People with various incomes throughout Oklahoma could benefit from a revocable living trust, which is characterized by the following

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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

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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

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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. Reasons for probate Probate essentially wraps up your financial life after your death.

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1741 West 33rd Street, Suite 120
Edmond, OK 73013

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