September 2015 Archives

Providing for pets in an Oklahoma estate plan

As a pet is often considered a part of the family, it is imperative to remember to include it in an estate plan. An Oklahoma law enacted in 2010 allows for people to create a trust that will provide care for a domestic animal. Currently, 46 states have such laws in place, giving animal owners peace of mind that their furry friends will be cared for upon the owner’s death.

What is a living trust?

There are many options at your disposal when you are doing your estate planning. One item that will likely come up is a living trust. This tool gives an appointed person, known as a trustee, control over assets that have been designated for a beneficiary or heir. Many people in Oklahoma use living trusts because of their many benefits.

Prevent unnecessary sibling rivalry with proper estate planning

Some siblings will find any reason to fight, and a parent’s estate is no exception. At Ball & Morse, PLLC, we know how effective estate planning can prevent rivalries among heirs from starting. When you take the appropriate measures, you can minimize conflict and ensure that your survivors know what to expect at your passing.

Know when to update your estate plan in Oklahoma

If you already have an estate plan in place, you are ahead of the game. A 2013 survey from Harris Interactive found that the majority of American adults do not even have a will. Our attorneys at Ball & Morse, PLLC, encourage people in Oklahoma to address these issues as soon as possible. Once you have a plan, keep in mind that updating your end-of-life wishes are just as important as putting the initial plans in place.

Avoid estate taxes with an irrevocable life insurance trust

Oklahoma does not collect estate taxes, unlike some other states. However, people may have to pay federal taxes. In 2013, the U.S. Congress approved a permanent estate tax exemption that adjusts each year with inflation. Today, the exemption threshold is at $5.43 million, meaning people with assets totaling less than that can avoid the 40 percent tax rate.

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