March 2015 Archives

How probate and estate administrators manage debts

Before they die, most Oklahomans who write wills or develop estate plans for the disposal of assets and property to heirs may notice that Oklahoma's probate and estate law requires consideration of any debts they might leave behind. So, assuming a testator actually dies with some debt, how is it handled?

Wills: the best way to leave OK property to your loved ones

Many Oklahoma residents with property decide at some point to make sure it will pass to their heirs when they die. This can be something as simple as a coin collection, antique automobile or something far grander, such as real estate holdings and investment portfolios. Regardless of the size of their estate, many people bump up against a fundamental question: Which one offers better protection for my assets and property -- a will or a trust?

What are the benefits of a special needs trust?

Oklahoma residents who have relatives or family members who are physically disabled or mentally ill understand that securing the financial futures of these relative can be a source of anxiety and worry.The worry can become more acute when parents or grandparents must plan for the lives of their children or grandchildren after they die themselves. This is why special needs trusts, a specific category of trusts, were created.

Student Conduct Codes and Disciplinary Actions on the Basis of Racist Speech or Conduct: Does the First Amendment Protect the SAE Students from Expulsion from the University of Oklahoma?

The recent expulsion of two University of Oklahoma fraternity members who appeared in a video participating in a racist fraternity chant has generated a great deal of discussion amongst journalists and academics regarding the issue of whether the First Amendment protects a student's racist speech/conduct from expulsion from a public university.  Although many speech advocates have questioned whether the University's actions violate the First Amendment, as federal case law pertaining to public school disciplinary actions indicates, a defense of a student's racist statements as constitutionally protected may not be successful in a legal challenge to the University's decision should the students decide to appeal and/or litigate their expulsions.  

How charitable contributions can help both givers and receivers

For Oklahomans who are comfortable, have disposable assets, want to donate to charity and get something back, one particular financial entity can bring the pleasures of supporting an institution and reaping tax benefits. The creator of a charitable trust, however, will no longer have any say over how and where the money is spent because these trusts are irrevocable, meaning the money cannot be recovered.

Federal District Court strikes down local ban on fracking

In an opinion issued on January 19, 2015, in the case of SWEPI, LP v. Mora County, New Mexico et al., a federal district judge in New Mexico invalidated a local ban on hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking", enacted through a local ordinance in Mora County, New Mexico. 

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