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September 2014 Archives

Making decisions during estate planning

Oklahoma residents may know that estate planning is an important part of planning for the future. Making sure one's beneficiaries receive their legacy in a cost-effective direct way allows a benefactor to have peace of mind. The type of estate planning tools one uses is an important consideration. Assets that do not require a will or trust include insurance policies and retirement plans since they have beneficiaries named in the document. For other assets, there are two main ways to transfer wealth to beneficiaries.

Prevelant untrue assumptions about trusts

Oklahoma residents who are working on their estate plan may be interested to learn about some of the common myths surrounding trust and might be interested to learn why those myths are not true. After the recent deaths of comedians Joan Rivers and Robin Williams, many people are learning about the benefits of including trust funds in an estate plan from their examples.

What if I die without a proper estate plan?

Oklahoma residents may view estate planning as an activity better suited to later in life, but the reality is that anyone over the age of 18 should consider establishing a plan regardless of assets. An estate plan that is legally documented is important for clearly communicating one's wishes. Assuming that a small estate does not warrant a formal plan is one of the most serious errors that can be made. Similarly, presuming that only the wealthy need to worry about such issues is incorrect.

Bypass trusts may minimize estate tax obligations

A comprehensive Oklahoma estate plan may include bypass trusts, especially in high-asset families, because they may mitigate the taxes faced by an estate after a benefactors dies. A bypass trust strategy may be effective, but its advantages may be limited due to the portability of estate tax exemptions and other factors.

Estate administration: Understanding federal estate taxes

Residents of Oklahoma may have heard that it's unlikely most people will owe federal estate taxes. While it's true that estates valued up to $5,340,000 are exempt from federal estate taxes as of 2014, it's also true that estate value can add up surprisingly fast. A family farm, for example, could easily exceed the threshold in value when you factor in equipment and land.

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