Lidia Law Firm, P.C.
Estate Planning & Business Law

Edmond Oklahoma Estate Planning Blog

Are you making succession plans for your business?

Oklahoma business owners like you have more than the average resident to worry about when it comes to drafting trusts, wills, or other end-of-life plans. This is because you have your business to worry about, too. How can you ensure that it passes down in the way that you want it to?

FindLaw examines succession planning for small businesses, i.e. planning for how you are going to hand down the business after you have passed on or are otherwise no longer able or willing to manage it. Succession planning is particularly important for smaller businesses, as the entire business could be resting on your shoulders alone. Not only will you need to identify family members who have the qualities you are looking for in a successor, but you will also need to make contingency plans just in case no one in your family is willing or able to take on the position.

I'm only 30? Why do I need an estate plan?

If you are one of the many Oklahoma residents who is in your 20s or 30s, you might be very focused on establishing yourself as an independent adult. Moving out of your parents' home for good and being financially responsible for every aspect of your life can feel daunting but it can also feel very good as you learn that you are able to truly take care of yourself and manage your life. As you learn to do this, it is also useful for you to consider some basic estate planning.

The thought of an estate plan might make you immediately think about a will or a trust. These are things one generally associates with someone who is older and in your parents' or your grandparents' generation as these people usually have more assets that require such attention. These people are also expected to have less time left to live than you do. These things may be true but that does not negate the importance of estate planning at your age.

Important estate planning tools

Many people in Oklahoma might think that an estate plan is all about a will or a trust. While these documents can be important elements in an estate plan, they are far from the only tools that a person should have in place to properly protect themselves, their assets and their family members.

A thorough estate plan provides provisions not just for what should happen to assets or debts after a person dies but it should also provide a path for taking care of a person's health or estate if they should become incapacitated for any reason, even if only for a short time. A revocable living trust not only gives a person the ability to manage their finances while they are still living but it also names another person to do so in the event that the trustor cannot. A durable financial power of attorney does the same thing for any assets not able to be part of the trust.

When do you need to update your will?

Estate planning in Oklahoma is usually not a one-and-done deal. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that your life circumstances will change in one way or another between now and the time that you eventually pass on, perhaps more than once. When that happens, it is a very good idea to review your will and make changes accordingly to reflect your current situation. 

There is no predetermined schedule by which you should update your will. Rather, it should happen any time you experience a major life change that affects its current provisions. Forbes magazine suggests several life events that may warrant review and revision of your will. 

Wills, trusts and blended families

Many people in Oklahoma find themselves contemplating a new marriage after having been married at least once before. This can and should be a very happy experience and a reason for celebration. However, it is also a time for people to be practical and address some important matters. Among these matters are their wishes for their estates after they die.

Spouses may naturally want to provide for each other after their death but they may also want to leave money or belongings to their children and grandchildren. When the new spouse is not the parent of a person's children, it can become difficult to figure out how best to provide for both parties. A solid estate plan is a must.

How can you minimize estate taxes?

Oklahoma residents like you who are dealing with matters of the estate will have quite a few hurdles to handle in the process. Lidia Law Firm, P.C., is here to help with these potential issues, including matters of estate taxes, which can be high and hard to handle.

Historically speaking, federal estate taxes are quite expensive. They can be between 45 and 55 percent and must usually be repaid nine months after an individual passes away. Obviously, this can create a lot of financial strain on the individual who is left paying. Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce these taxes.

How do estate sales work, and why are they beneficial?

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as they say. While you might not consider your parents’ possessions trash, you also might not have room for them or they do not suit your own taste. If you inherited heirlooms and other possessions from your parents that you do not want to keep, there is a way to rehome these items that is respectful and can convert this inheritance to cash. You and other Oklahoma residents may be interested in learning about estate sales.

As HowStuffWorks explains, an estate sale is a step up from a yard or garage sale. Typically, estate sales are held after the owner of an estate passes away, and the beneficiaries would rather see the unwanted items go to good homes, rather than put them in storage or throw them away. Many people are attracted to estate sales, as you may know, because the items for sale can be valuable. For example, you might not be interested in keeping your mother’s designer clothing or your father’s model train collection, but someone else may be excited to acquire these things.

Protect your disabled child with a special needs trust

As an Oklahoma parent of a child with special needs, you may have to provide care for that child long after you might, had he or she not had a disability, and your estate planning needs, too, involve special considerations. Chances are, you need to make accommodations to ensure that your child will receive the care he or she needs once you are no longer around and able to provide it, and at Lidia Law Firm, we understand that special needs trusts can help you accomplish this.

According to CNBC, some parents of special needs children find that caring for them over the course of their lifetimes can cost more than $1 million. Many families simply do not have that kind of cash on hand, but increasingly, they are relying on special needs trusts to help them pay for their child’s continued care once they pass on.

Can you change a living will?

Oklahoma residents may first venture into wills, will-writing, and will-related laws without knowing much about it all. Lidia Law Firm, P.C., is here to help guide you through the somewhat complex aspects of wills. First, we will start by explaining living wills and answering one of the most common questions about them.

Living wills differ from last wills in a number of very important ways, with the primary one being that last wills are used to determine what your loved ones should do with you and your assets after your passing. Living wills, on the other hand, are used to determine what you want to happen with your healthcare in the event that you are still living but are in a coma, vegetative state, or otherwise are unable to communicate with others.

Estate planning as a small business owner

People create estate plans for many reasons, but many do so to protect their assets and make sure that their estate is managed in accordance with their wishes after they pass away. For some people, such as those who own a small business, having an estate plan in place is especially important and there are additional issues that may need to be reviewed.

After figuring out the most appropriate type of estate plan, small business owners should examine how their estate plan can protect their business. Tax-related issues need to be considered and it may be necessary to address various issues with respect to a family-run business. After someone passes away, many questions related to business operations can arise and it is imperative to have these issues addressed beforehand to prevent uncertainty.

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