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

Edmond Oklahoma Estate Planning Blog

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.

How and why should I create a pet trust?

Like any pet owner in Oklahoma, you consider your pets a part of the family. However, as you may know, the courts do not have the same opinion. Animals are legally considered property. As such, you cannot simply leave money or property to your pets in your will, but you can take several actions to ensure your pets do not become homeless if you die before them or become incapacitated.

One way to safeguard your pets’ future is to leave them in your will to another member of your family you trust. Ideally, you would discuss this with the benefactor in question before including it in your will. If you expect no complications from this arrangement, leaving your pets to someone in your will can be fairly straightforward and give you peace of mind.

Divorce and estate planning: What you should know

Going through a divorce can be extremely overwhelming. Not only are there are host of emotions involved, but there are many issues that must be negotiated when dealing with the divorce decree. One matter that must be considered is that of the estate plan. Whether you have already created an estate plan or you have yet to organize your estate, it is important to keep in mind a few factors when dealing with divorce.

One way to ensure your property and assets are given to your desired beneficiary, it to set up an irrevocable trust. When a trust is in place, the estate may avoid probate and go directly to the beneficiaries. Furthermore, you will want to clearly distinguish what is marital property and what is separate property. While marital property is eligible for division in the divorce settlement, separate property may stay with the original owner in some cases. This will help you know what to include in your estate plan.

Consider these factors before choosing your child's guardian

As a new parent, the last thing you want to think about is dying and leaving your child to be raised by someone else. However, if you want to choose who that stand-in would be, you need to think about it and designate him or her as your child's guardian in your Oklahoma will. Our legal team at the Lidia Law Firm, P.C., often advises parents in the many factors that they should consider before choosing a guardian.

You want your child to be safe and happy, but you also want the guardian to raise him or her as closely as possible to the way you would. Forbes suggests creating a list of your core values for raising your child. You may want the guardian to model and teach generosity, integrity and kindness. It may also be important to you that your child receives a top education and is raised in a specific religious faith, exposed to the arts and encouraged to follow his or her dreams.

Updating your trust after a divorce

When a marriage is brought to an end, life can be tumultuous in many ways. Custody, property division and other family law matters can be incredibly challenging, but there are other responsibilities and stressors that may arise. For example, someone who has a trust may need to make changes to their estate plan following the end of their marriage. For some people, this can be difficult because the divorce process is stressful and time-consuming in and of itself. However, by taking care of these issues promptly, moving forward and finding a sense of peace may be easier.

A trust may need to be revised for different reasons. For example, a former spouse may be listed as a beneficiary, and it may be necessary to revise the trust in order to make sure that one's former marital partner does not receive any assets from the estate. A former spouse may have also been given authority in an estate plan, and it may need to be revised to reflect these changes. Some people may even find themselves in a new marriage after their divorce, which may also necessitate making revisions to their existing estate plan.

What are some potential hurdles in probate?

Oklahoma residents who undertake the probate process are unfortunately going to be dealing with a lot of potentially unfamiliar legal hurdles. Lidia Law Firm, P.C., is here to help you through as you decide what you need to do.

It's highly advised for anyone going through probate to have a legal expert on your side. Why? Because the process is rife with legal complexities, and you never know what issues may crop up. The most important thing for you to keep in mind is that you - the executor - could be held personally responsible if anything goes wrong during the process. This can and has sunk people thousands of dollars or even more.

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