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Oklahoma Heir Planning Attorneys and Lawyers


Everyone needs to plan his or her estate before death, and while this is not necessarily a positive thought, it is an advisable one, as planning a proper estate will allow those you love to receive your gifts without a fight amongst themselves, without long delays in probate court and perhaps, depending on the specifics of your plan, without incurring easily-avoidable estate taxes that will eat away at the estate.


As you encounter these issues, one of the central set of questions that needs to be answered with a high degree of specificity is that of heir planning. This may sound like a general concept, but in Oklahoma and almost anywhere else you’ll need to take every step possible to remove any and all ambiguities in regards to heir planning, and failing to do so leaves them at risk for problems and dissention that could last for years.


If you’d like to obtain specific answers to these questions in regards to your family and your estate, contact Privett Law today to schedule an initial consultation. In the meantime, below you’ll find a brief overview of some of the questions, strategies and issues that deal with heir planning in Oklahoma.


Heir Planning in Oklahoma


Heir planning in Oklahoma can generally be described by answering the five most famous questions in the English language: who, what, where, when and why. Below is a brief outline of how these questions would be answered in a ‘typical’ situation, but once again, for specific answers to these questions, contact an estate planning lawyer at Atkins & Markoff today.


Elements of Estate Planning - Who?


Clearly, the first decision you need to make during the process of heir planning is who it is that will be receiving any bequests from your estate. This, once again, may seem like a simple question, but different situations can create complications if the planner is not careful. For instance, if the decedent was married, and his spouse had children from a prior marriage, the planner must specifically take these potential heirs into account if he or she wants them to receive any inheritance.


There is also the issue of extended family, such as distant cousins, relatives by marriage and close friends who would not necessarily be seen as automatic beneficiaries in the eyes of Oklahoma probate law. The planner needs to specifically mention any of these parties in the will or trust when it’s formulated.


Elements of Estate Planning - What?


The ‘what’ question obviously involves the property of the estate. The planner needs to be extremely specific in this context when heir planning as well, otherwise intense confrontations can result. Generally, any cash or liquid assets can be distributed quite easily in a manner that’s equal to all the beneficiaries or even in a manner where some beneficiaries receive more than others.


However, specific intentions need to be recorded in regards to any real property that will be in the estate’s name upon the planner’s death, as well as any ‘other’ items that could carry intrinsic value to some but not necessarily others. For instance, the planner may have a collection of antiques that he or she wants given in totality to one beneficiary or to be split up and distributed evenly. 


Where and Tax Consequences?


The question of ‘where’ must also be handled with specificity. The reason is that if the planner holds property or assets in jurisdictions outside of where the estate will be probated, different tax consequences can arise if these issues aren’t accounted for carefully in the original estate instrument.


For instance, if a planner passes away in Oklahoma and he or she owns property in Nevada, the governing instrument should dictate whether that property is to transfer to a beneficiary or be sold and have the proceeds added to the overall estate. Any of these decisions should be made with an experienced attorney.


Elements of Estate Planning - When?


The question of ‘when’ involves when payments will be made. The planner can choose to have every beneficiary paid in one lump sum, or he or she can require periodic payments to be made to some or all of the beneficiaries. The planner can also place conditions on the inheritance for some, including the requirement that a certain beneficiary receive his or her college degree or complete some other valuable task before receiving any or part of the inheritance.


Who to Include in Your Estate


Finally, the planner must answer the ‘why’ question, and this really involves the question of ‘why not’ more so than ‘why.’ If the planner decides that he or she does not want to include a party or parties in the estate inheritance for whatever reason, he or she needs to state specifically that these parties are not part of the estate plan, and some will suggest that explaining why is helpful in order to prevent a challenge to the estate.


Your Next Step


As you see, the concept of heir planning in Oklahoma can be quite complicated. In order to avoid serious problems with your estate, contact Privett Law today to schedule an initial consultation.