Estate planning isn't a topic that many people enjoy discussing because it brings one's own mortality into focus. However, ignoring critical estate planning needs can have devastating consequences for a deceased individual's estate and heirs. As uncomfortable as the conversation may be, an estate planning discussion is too important to let it slip past.
If an individual fails to plan for the distribution of his or her estate, the state's statutory and court system will do the job for them. Often, the decisions the state makes with regard to the estate differ from the wishes of the deceased. The time and legal process to probate a will or to administer an estate without a will (an “intestate” estate) can also be lengthy and may delay the distribution of one's assets to the rightful heirs.
Catherine W. Hoopert, PLLC helps individuals take control of planning one's estate by consulting with you on your estate planning needs and recommending appropriate, cost-effective solutions. The firm serves clients in Tulsa and the surrounding areas, including Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Pawhuska, Owasso, Jenks, Sapulpa, Claremore, Coweta, Pawnee, and Bixby. Ms. Hoopert assists clients in the following practice areas:
Estate planning starts with a comprehensive analysis of one's entire financial picture, followed by a set of customized recommendations.
Wills are commonly used; however, many desire a trust or other means of bypassing the probate process; there are other types of trusts that can also be utilized, depending on the size of one's estate and the individual's goals and objectives.
Guiding the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate through the complex and sometimes lengthy process of court supervision of: getting the personal representative appointed; identifying, inventorying and collecting assets; resolving debt; handling expenses; determining heirs; and closing the estate with distribution of residual property.
Whether during life or after death, administration of one's estate or trust results in the need for legal perspective and assistance to the executor or trustee with managing the fiduciary obligations, which can include filing tax returns, making special estate or income tax elections, filing claims for life insurance or retirement accounts, making IRA distribution selections, selling assets, continuing a business after the death of the owner or principal, drafting documents, or reaching compromise agreements.
Taxes don't end with death, unfortunately. There's usually a requirement for one final tax return for the decedent's year of death; perhaps an estate tax return; and, more likely, an estate income tax return during administration of the estate or trust or both.