Caring.com has been conducting surveys on an annual basis to measure estate planning tendencies. They have found that preparedness has been going down over the last few years. Overall, 32 percent of the people they polled in 2020 have estate plans in place. In 2017, the figure was 42 percent, and the lack of preparedness is not confined to younger adults. Just over 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 35 and 54 have wills or trusts, and 52.1 percent of individuals that are 55 years … [Read more...] about Estate Planning: It’s Simpler Than You Think
by Steve Hartnett Why do you have a “Last Will and Testament.” Even Estate Planning attorneys are unlikely to know the etymology of the term. It was the subject of a recent question on “Jeopardy.” Have you ever wondered why the dispositive instrument in which you express your wishes is called a “Last Will and Testament?” Few people, including Estate Planning attorneys, know the reason. In fact, the history is a little muddy. Occasionally, clients will ask this question. Now you’ll know … [Read more...] about “Last Will and Testament” Origin
Estate planning can seem like an overwhelming task if you want to make sure you do everything right, and this can lead to procrastination when you don’t know where to begin. While there are different approaches that can be taken, there is a basic framework that is the same for everyone, and it boils down to four essential elements. Asset Transfers You have to utilize an asset transfer vehicle when you plan your estate. Many people assume that a simple will is the right choice, but this is … [Read more...] about You Should Have These Estate Planning Documents
Estate planning attorneys field many questions about taxes on inheritances and people usually have negative expectations. They are pleasantly surprised when they hear the facts. We will pass along the good news and a little bit of bad news in this post. State-Level Estate Tax A dozen states and the District of Columbia have state-level estate taxes. Oklahoma does not have an estate tax, but if you own property in a state that does, the tax will apply to your estate if its value exceeds the … [Read more...] about Is There a State Estate Tax in Oklahoma?
What’s a “Dynasty Trust?” Such a trust is one that continues for the maximum term possible. There can be estate tax advantages to such a trust. by Steve Hartnett Trusts are very useful, flexible tools to hold assets. They allow for management of assets during your life, upon your incapacity, and for the continued management of the assets after your death. Perhaps you’d continue to hold the assets in trust until your children reach a suitable age to manage the money for themselves, … [Read more...] about Dynasty Trusts
Beneficiary designations can be deceptively simple. But their simplicity is sort of like an iceberg. Danger lurks beneath those tranquil waters, both for the client and the attorney. Designations for IRAs and retirement plans can be particularly complicated, especially after the SECURE Act. This article focuses on the basics of the SECURE Act. by Steve Hartnett Clients spend lots of time, money, and energy planning their estates. Estate Planning attorneys help them by counseling … [Read more...] about Beneficiary Designations and the SECURE Act Basics
Sometimes you hear bits and pieces of information about estate planning that can lead you in the wrong direction. This most often occurs when you are looking for how to avoid probate. Estate Administration If you use a simple will to state your final wishes, your executor acts as the administrator. The executor cannot complete the administration without court supervision. In Oklahoma, the executor is required to admit the will to probate and the probate court oversees the … [Read more...] about Avoid Probate the Right Way
Estate planning is important for adults of all ages, and it is an absolute must if you are the parent of dependent children who are relying on you for everything. Unfortunately, there is a shocking lack of preparedness among young adults. According to a survey conducted by Caring.com last year, only 16.4 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 had estate plans. The number was 27.2 percent for individuals in the 35 to 54 age group. Some people know they should have estate plans, but … [Read more...] about How Do You Include a Child in Your Estate Plan?
Now is a good time to think about updating your plan. This includes your entire plan, including beneficiary designations. Beneficiary designations may control a large part of your assets and it’s important to be sure your plan is coordinated to consider these. by Steve Hartnett This is a bonus part of a series of articles on updating your plan. The first article examined the importance of updating your Powers of Attorney, both Financial and Medical. The second part of the series looked … [Read more...] about Updating Your Plan Part 3: Beneficiary Designations
You may use different types of trusts as part of your estate plan to satisfy various objectives. It may be hard for a layperson to sort it all out, so it is our job to provide understandable explanations. With this in mind, we will take a look at two commonly used trusts that can be beneficial even if you are not a multimillionaire. Revocable Living Trust The revocable living trust is a very effective estate planning tool and an ideal alternative to a simple will. One of the reasons people … [Read more...] about Testamentary Trust vs. Living Trust: What’s the Difference?