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

Edmond Oklahoma Estate Planning Blog

Why executors should deal with estate debt early

It is common for people to die with some debts still outstanding. However, just because someone in Oklahoma dies, it does not mean that the debts that person incurred in life die as well. Since those debts can come back to haunt the estate of the deceased, the executor of the estate should be proactive in alerting creditors that their debtor has passed.

According to Forbes, an executor might need to publicly advertise the existence of the estate. By placing an advertisement in a newspaper or using whatever means are permitted, an executor is making it easier for creditors to learn about the estate and that they can approach the executor for the outstanding money. If necessary, the creditors may contest for the assets of the estate in court or negotiate for a settlement.

Are there limits on what you can put in a will?

Making out a will in Oklahoma is a smart way to express your wishes to your surviving relatives as to how you would like them to handle your estate after your death. However, just because you want your property handled in a particular way does not make it legal or possible to do so. As with most legal matters, there are rules and norms that govern what you can and cannot include in your will. 

For example, according to FindLaw, you cannot leave money or gifts for illegal purposes. It may seem obvious, but attempting to do so invalidates the will. Other rules are slightly less straightforward, and what follows are some guidelines about how you can and cannot handle certain matters in your will.

Late artist's estate sues over use of images in horror film

A common misconception that many in Edmond may have regarding estate administration is that it is a singular event. While that may be true in certain cases, many times estate administration can be a process that plays out over several years (even decades). This is especially true in the case of those who own properties that are put out for public consumption. Executors and personal representatives in these cases are tasked with ensuring that any intellectual or artistic properties belonging to an estate are not used without authorization (or if they are, that the estate is duly and adequately compensated for their use). 

Oftentimes, people will use protected properties without even knowing that they need such authorization. Such appears to have been the case in the making of the film (which itself is a remake of a classic Italian film). The movies director admitted that the images he used in many of the film's dream sequences were inspired by the works of popular feminist artists. Two such images apparently came to close to resembling two actual works of art produced by a renowned Cuban-American artist. Representatives of her estate took note of this and sued the film's production company. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, and the images were removed from the film's theatrical version. 

What is the role of an executor?

As you prepare your estate, you will have to choose an executor. Understanding what the executor does will help ensure that you pick the right person for the job. According to Forbes, the main duty is for the executor to carry out your wishes. However, the job entails much more than that.

The executor essentially takes over your estate and manages it after you die. He or she holds personal responsibility for the choices he or she makes concerning the estate. If the executor mismanages the estate, he or she is personally liable for any loses. Because of this, you want to ensure you choose someone who is responsible and fiscally sound.

What is a special needs trust?

If you are the parent of an Oklahoma special needs child, you undoubtedly do everything in your power to see to it that your child receives the care and services (s)he needs. But you also likewise worry about who will care for your child if (s)he outlives you and if the money will be there to provide that care once you are no longer around.

It may surprise you to learn that establishing a special needs trust for the benefit of your child could relieve both your worries. As FindLaw explains, a special needs trust names your child as trust beneficiary, lists the trust assets, designates you as trustee, plus your choice of successor trustee in the event of your incapacity or death, and specifies who you want to care for your disabled child once you can no longer do so yourself.

Deciding if revocable trusts are right for you

Oklahoma residents who are going to become a grantor for a beneficiary will have a number of things to consider. The type of trust they want is one of the first things that should undergo consideration.

Taking a look at revocable trusts first, the American Bar Association defines them as a type of trust that can be changed while the grantor is alive. In a trust, there is the grantor, the beneficiary, and the trustee. The trustee is the one who handles the property in accordance with the trust, while the beneficiary is the one who actually uses the property in question. The grantor is the one who sets the trust up and provides the funds. "Property" in this situation can be anything being given to the beneficiary, but usually involves money.

What can you accomplish with an irrevocable living trust?

As a resident of Oklahoma who is looking to get your affairs in order, you may be giving some thought to how to make the best use of your assets after your passing. You may, too, be considering what methods you might use to preserve as much of your wealth as you can for your loved ones, and the term “irrevocable living trust” may come up during the process.

Just what is an irrevocable living trust, and would it benefit you to establish one? Per the Motley Fool, an irrevocable living trust is a fiduciary arrangement that can come with many benefits, although it does require that you give up some power and place it in the hands of a trustee. This type of trust, as the name implies, is not one you can change once you create it, but if you are able to accept that, know that there are many ways in which it can work in your favor.

It could be time to review your will

Happy occasions should be celebrated. Getting married, landing a new job or having a child are all milestones for which congratulations are in order. At Lidia Law Firm, P.C., we are proud to be part of these happy moments in our clients' lives. 

These are also times when it could make sense to think of the future. After your celebrations are over and before you fall back into your routine, it might be a good idea to review your will. Other times you might want to revisit this document include:

  • When you are planning to move out of Oklahoma
  • When your children get married or have children of their own
  •  When you or your immediate family members end a marriage

How to create a simple will

When Oklahoma residents begin to create their estate plan, one of the first things they might decide to do is write a will. There are many different kinds of wills. However, many people may find that a simple will is all they need.

Simple wills can be a good option for people who have a small estate. According to FindLaw, a simple will usually explains how property should be distributed. If people have children, this document also names a person who will take care of the children's finances and act as their guardian. Some people may be surprised to learn that their will might need to go through probate. This is why it is important for people to make sure they name an executor of the estate in their will.

Who can benefit from a trust?

In Oklahoma, there are different types of trust funds that can suit different and unique purposes. Lidia Law Firm, P.C., is here to help you as you determine which type of trust suits your needs and which will benefit your personal situation the most.

First, it's important to understand what a trust is. In essence, it's a financial relationship in which one person transfers a property - such as a sum of money - to another. Generally speaking, the trustor is the one who provides the property to the trustee, who then manages it for a third party, known as the beneficiary.

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