As the one year anniversary of Prince's death approaches, probate drags on. Because the superstar did no estate planning, the court is left to decide the best interests of the estate and its heirs without knowing Prince's intentions. While some progress has been made over the past year, fans in Oklahoma may be frustrated to see that new disputes arise among the heirs with each court decision.
End-of-life decisions are difficult conversations to begin. Most people in Oklahoma prefer to ignore the subject, perhaps thinking they will be able to make decisions about their own health care up until their last breath. Still others have taken the step of starting the conversation about estate planning and end-of-life wishes, but the results were murky. In fact, a recent survey showed that even those who believe they have expressed their wishes may not have made those wishes clear.
Sometimes an expression of love can come in unexpected ways. For many families dealing with the deaths of loved ones, that expression comes in the form of careful estate planning. Nevertheless, financial counselors say that only about 42 percent of people in Oklahoma and across the country have done any kind of preparation for the end of their lives. That number gets even smaller when it comes to parents with children under the age of 18.
Thinking about the end of one's life is not always easy. Careful consideration is needed for estate planning, and it often involves making difficult decisions. One choice people in Oklahoma have to make is who will act as trustees for their trusts. Making the wrong choice could jeopardize the trust and the future it secures for one's heirs.
When someone in Oklahoma makes the effort to write a will, that person's relatives may be relieved that the estate is prepared for their loved one's eventual death. They may even look forward to receiving a bit of an inheritance from the loved one's estate. However, estate planning is many-faceted, and having a will may be only the beginning. For example, if a loved one dies owing money to creditors, even that small inheritance may be in jeopardy.
Although 90 percent of parents and adult children believe families should have detailed discussions about their estates, about half of them have actually done so. This is according to a recent study by Fidelity Investments. There also seems to be a major disconnect between parents and children about many of the details of estate planning, including when it should be done. Families in Oklahoma may not be as ready for their futures as they think they are, especially if they have not scheduled a time to express their wishes.
After enjoying a vacation home for years, some may realize they need to decide what they want to happen to it after they are gone. If the home was well-loved as their children grew or even passed down from previous generations, making a plan for its continued use may be of primary importance. There are a number of factors to consider when including a vacation home in one's estate planning.
When celebrities make the headlines, it is usually because they have done something outrageous, like leaving millions of dollars in a will to a pet. However, this gesture brings attention to a long-overlooked issue in estate planning: providing for a pet after its owner dies. In Oklahoma, pet lovers are turning to trusts to ensure their beloved friends are protected and cared for.
A recent Gallup Poll showed that the number of single people in the country is growing. In fact, 64 percent of those between 19 and 29 years old have never been married, and more than 18 million senior citizens are divorced, widowed or single. To some, it makes sense for married people to make wills and trusts, but estate planning for singles in Oklahoma may be just as vital.
With the recent presidential campaign, people in Oklahoma heard many promises about the repeal of the federal estate tax. Apparently, this is nothing new; politicians have been discussing its repeal for decades. However, these promises become dangerous when they cause people to postpone their estate planning until the tax is gone, taking the chance that their heirs will be left with the frustration of uncertainty.