Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration

Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorneys

Protecting Assets And The Future Of Loved Ones Throughout The Midwest

Many people mistakenly believe that “estate planning” is only necessary for the extremely wealthy. Every adult should have a plan to ensure their assets will be protected and safely passed to the next generation. A comprehensive, well-organized estate plan will optimize wealth preservation, accommodate special needs and disabilities, provide peace of mind, and much more.

No one should go without an estate plan. Whether you are new to the process or have existing documents, our Oklahoma City estate planning attorneys can offer the strategic guidance you need to prepare for the future. Our team at The Schroeder Group can leverage tailored techniques that work to minimize taxes and court costs, facilitate efficient asset transfers, and meet your unique planning goals. 

Why Choose Our Oklahoma Estate Attorneys?

We are seasoned problem solvers who can continue to help you make changes to your plan as your circumstances and priorities evolve. Our Oklahoma City estate planning lawyers also routinely assist individuals and corporate fiduciaries with matters of estate and trust administration.

If you have questions about estate planning, schedule a free consultation with a qualified Oklahoma City estate planning attorney by calling (405) 704-3882 or contacting The Schroeder Group online.

Common Components of Estate Plans

Planning your estate is no easy task -- there is a lot to consider and many decisions must be made. Below are components typical of an estate plan. Our Oklahoma estate attorneys are happy to answer any of your questions and guide you through drafting the perfect estate plan for your loved ones.

Typical aspects of an estate plan:

  1. Will and trusts
  2. Durable power of attorney
  3. Healthcare power of attorney
  4. Beneficiary designations
  5. Letter of intent (for the executor or a beneficiary)
  6. Guardianship designations (if you have minor children)

Estate Planning and Tax Planning in OK

An optimal estate plan should account for the full extent of your asset holdings and work to minimize the financial impact of federal estate taxes, gift taxes, generation-skipping taxes, probate, beneficiary conflicts, and other potential costs and complications. In many cases, a simple will or living trust is not enough. 

We will tailor our planning strategy to suit your concerns and objectives and provide the knowledgeable advice you need to make informed decisions. Our firm regularly represents high-profile clients in these matters and can handle your case with the utmost discretion and sensitivity. 

If you require a sophisticated level of tax planning, our Oklahoma City estate planning attorneys can assist you with many types of complex instruments, including:

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs). When you move your life insurance policy into an irrevocable trust, all death benefits are excluded from the valuation of your estate, which helps your heirs avoid federal estate taxes. 
  • Dynasty Trusts. This type of trust is irrevocable, meaning you cannot typically change its terms once it is created. Assets transferred to dynasty trusts are only potentially subject to taxes (including estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes) when the initial transfer is made, and only if the value of the assets exceeds federal tax exemptions. Subsequent transfers to heirs are generally tax-free. Assets contained in dynasty trusts are also not counted as part of the trust creator’s taxable estate.
  • Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs). One way to preserve and pass on generational wealth is to establish a business entity called a family limited partnership. In these arrangements, family members can be given shares of the FLP tax-free if their value does not exceed the annual gift tax exemption. The value of any gifted shares also “leaves” the FLP creator’s estate and is thus not counted as part of their taxable estate. Furthermore, as limited partners, shareholders will directly benefit from profits and dividends generated by the FLP. 
  • Qualified Domestic Trusts (QDOTs). QDOTs allow surviving spouses who are not United States citizens to take marital deductions they would otherwise not have access to. 
  • Split Interest Charitable Trusts. You do not necessarily have to create separate trusts if you wish to provide for both individual heirs and charitable organizations. Also called “charitable remainder trusts,” these types of trusts allow trustees to transfer assets to individual beneficiaries and charities. 
  • Grantor Retained Income Trusts (GRITs). A GRIT is a type of irrevocable living trust that allows you to continue to obtain income from assets placed in the trust. You will be permitted to receive income for a fixed amount of time. Once this period expires, trust assets can be immediately transferred to beneficiaries or held in the trust until a later date. Keep in mind that cannot transfer GRIT assets to your spouse, parents, spouse’s parents, children, spouse’s children, siblings, or your spouse’s siblings.
  • Unitrusts. Unitrusts can make future financial planning easier. This type of irrevocable trust distributes a set percentage of the trust’s assets’ value to the beneficiary or beneficiaries at fixed intervals (such as annually or every few months). 

Talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer in Oklahoma City at The Schroeder Group – dial (405) 704-3882 to set up a consultation.

Estate Administration and Probate in Oklahoma

When a person passes away, their estate must go through some form of court-supervised probate process. If a thorough estate plan is in place, much of probate can be strategically avoided. However, in these cases, the decedent’s trusts and other estate planning instruments must still be carefully managed. 

How Does Probate Work in Oklahoma?

Probate in Oklahoma is the legal process that occurs after a person passes away. It involves several key steps to settle the decedent's estate, ensuring that debts are paid, and assets are distributed according to their last will and testament or state law if there's no will.

  1. Filing a Petition: The process begins with someone, often the executor named in the will, filing a petition in the appropriate Oklahoma county court. This officially opens the probate case.
  2. Notification: Next, the court will notify interested parties, including heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, about the probate proceedings.
  3. Inventory and Appraisal: An inventory of the decedent's assets is conducted, and their value is appraised. This provides a clear picture of the estate's value.
  4. Payment of Debts and Taxes: The estate's debts, including funeral expenses and taxes, are paid from the estate's assets.
  5. Asset Distribution: After settling the debts and taxes, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries, as outlined in the will or per state law if there's no will.
  6. Closing the Estate: Once all obligations are met, the court will close the probate case, and the process is completed.

The probate process can vary in complexity, depending on the estate's size and whether there are disputes among the beneficiaries or creditors. It's advisable to seek an experienced Oklahoma City probate attorney to navigate the probate process effectively in Oklahoma.

Who Handles The Probate Process?

Personal representatives, trustees, and other fiduciaries will be responsible for carrying out complex probate and trust-related tasks. Their actions will be heavily scrutinized by the decedent’s beneficiaries, especially if substantial assets are at stake. Our Oklahoma City estate planning lawyers at The Schroeder Group routinely advises both individual and corporate fiduciaries, including executors and professional trustees, with the administration of probate and trusts. We are also prepared to represent fiduciaries in any conflicts that may develop throughout the estate administration process.

Our Oklahoma City estate planning attorneys have considerable experience helping fiduciaries navigate:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping issues
  • Disputed trust accountings
  • Inventorying and appraising estate and trust assets
  • Will and trust contests
  • Filing final tax returns, including estate, inheritance, and generation-skipping returns
  • Tax audits and controversies 
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Petitions for instructions
  • Petitions for trustee removal
  • All other forms of estate and trust litigation

How Much Is The Inheritance Tax in Oklahoma?

Although the state does not impose an inheritance or estate tax, there may still be taxes assessed upon the death of a loved one. Despite of the absence of an inheritance tax in Oklahoma, you may need to file a federal estate tax return, Form 706. 

Consult an experienced attorney to ensure your inheritance or wealth is protected and to minimize or avoid taxes.

Do not wait to take steps to protect your spouse, loved ones, and heirs. Call (405) 704-3882 or contact us online to start exploring your legal options with our Oklahoma City estate planning lawyers!

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