Does a loved one of yours have an estate plan? Have you thought to yourself that you need one. Are you wondering where to start or how to set one up. Do you want to avoid probate?
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life. Estate planning typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. There are a few tips you should consider when you are estate planning.
There are six common tips for making an estate plan. The first tip is to get two professionals. A financial planner and an experienced probate, will and trust attorney. Find professionals who have years of experience. Who have good reputations. Have established offices. Never use anyone without an established office.
It is usually wise to guard against the possibility of a divorce. You can always undo the steps taken later in life if the marriage is wonderful. The statistics say “40% of newlyweds have been married before, the divorce rate in a second marriage is 60%. It is important to have a prenuptial agreement to create a firewall for your protection and ensure there is a safety net below which you will not fall.”
Don’t forget to put medical planning in place. Have a health care proxy, and a living will. A health care proxy will be allowed to make health-related decisions. “It is a gift to your loved ones. It provides directions. They know what you would want and are more comfortable sleeping at night fulfilling your wishes.” “A medical power of attorney is crucial if you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.”
Talk to members of your family. It may be very uncomfortable to do, but your family deserves to know your wishes. If you don’t make the decisions now, the government will do it for you later. Your assets have to go somewhere when you pass away.
Fourth tip is use an experienced attorney who knows Oklahoma law. How things convey after death according to sate law may not be the way you intended. For example, in Oklahoma, if you die without a will and are survived by a spouse and children, did you know it does not all go to your spouse. 50% goes to the spouse, but the rest would go to the children. More typical of what most people want is everything to go to the spouse, and when the spouse dies, it goes to the kids. An estate plan lets you decide.
Tip five is to keep beneficiaries up to date. Make sure you go over your will and non-probate beneficiaries (think IRA, life insurance, etc.) at least once every five years, to make sure your beneficiaries are up to date. When you pass, it will pass according to your beneficiary designation.
The last tip is remember to avoid income taxes. Consider taxes. Only the highest-income people need estate planning for avoiding estate taxes,” “But at the next level down, you should be trying to arrange your affairs, ownership of assets and estate planning to avoid income tax. Stupid income tax moves would be deeding property to a child instead of letting the child inherit and receive a stepped up income tax basis. Another is selling a rental property, then being taxed out of your mind over it. It is better to hold onto it, let the children inherit, then sell income tax free.
A good summary of what you should do are as follows: Make a will. Consider a trust. Make health care directives. Make a financial power of attorney. Make and file beneficiary forms. Nominate your choice of guardian of your children if you die and leave minor children. Use life insurance. Know if your estate is subject to estate tax. Plan and prepay your funeral expenses. Put in place long term care insurance. Protect your business with succession planning. Store your documents in a fire and flood proof place. Get an experienced probate, will and trust attorney.
As you can see from the above tips, it is a good idea to make an estate plan. You would not want to leave that stress on your family. Would you really want your final wishes unfulfilled? If you plan early, there won’t be any issues as life goes on. Life may get more crazy but, you will have your estate planning set in place.
An experienced probate, will and living trust attorney like Brent D. Coldiron, knows what to do in these situations. His fees are reasonable. The best money ever spent is to get good legal advice before signing your name to something. Contact Brent at (405) 478-5655 or 737-2244. His website is http://coldironlaw.com.