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Oklahoma City Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate Planning

It will be hard enough for your family to face the loss of a loved one without adding to their worries because of failure to plan your estate. If you do not have a current revocable living trust or will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, or if your estate plan needs to be updated, we can help you At Mee Mee Hoge & Epperson PLLP, we offer personalized, one-to-one estate planning services to help give you confidence that your needs and your family's needs will be met.

Exactly how does the estate planning process work at Mee Mee Hoge & Epperson PLLP?

Getting Started

  • Request an appointment for an initial consultation.
  • Complimentary initial consultation available for clients who submit a completed Personal Information Form in advance.
  • Flat fee quoted at end of initial consultation for most estate plans.
  • Complex and very large estates may require design work on an hourly rate basis before a flat fee can be quoted. 
  • Documents usually ready in 10 days to 2 weeks following initial consultation.
  • Flat fee covers Living Trust, Pour-Over Will, Advance Directive for Health Care (state form), Health Care Power of Attorney and (if desired) General Power of Attorney.  It does not cover work related to funding.  
  • Fees for Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Irrevocable Gifting Trusts, and other irrevocable trusts are quoted separately.

Wrapping Up

  • Funding is the transfer of assets to the Living Trust, and beneficiary designation changes that involve the Living Trust.
  • A Funding Plan Conference follows execution of plan documents. Client is in control of which funding tasks are retained by client and which are delegated to our firm (if any) or to others.
  • After the Funding Plan Conference, client is provided with a Funding Plan Letter and Funding Plan Memo outlining client decisions.
  • Because all clients have a different mix of assets, work related to funding is done on an hourly rate basis. An estimate of the cost of funding work assigned to our firm is provided to the client. That estimate is not a guarantee but will not be exceeded without consent from the client in advance.

A Definition of Estate Planning Learned from Our Clients

  • "I want to maintain control of my family assets while I am alive."
  • "If I become incapacitated, I want my family assets to be available to take care of me and my loved ones."
  • "At all times (including my death), I want to give what I have to whom I want, the way I want, and when I want."
  • "I want to minimize the exposure of my estate to taxes, except to the extent that objective would conflict with my non-tax goals for providing for my family."
  • "To the extent I reasonable can, I want to
    • protect my family assets from creditors and predators;
    • leave a legacy of peace within my own family; and,
    • perpetuate and communicate my own values to my family and the community."

Estate planning is not just about what happens when you die It is never too early in life to start thinking about preserving and protecting your family assets. We work directly with clients from all over Oklahoma, as well as from Texas, and surrounding states. These clients range from business persons and investors with the very large estates to young persons and others with modest estates.

We welcome the team approach to estate planning. You are the captain of the team. We encourage you to invite your accountant, financial advisor, insurance professional, and your non-estate planning attorney to participate in the planning process.

The most important part of the estate planning process is to clearly understand your goals as our client. Sometimes those goals are challenging and may even conflict among themselves. Our experience permits us to present you with problem solving alternatives and enables us to counsel you in the choices that best fit your family and business circumstances.

Next comes the documentation of your plan, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Revocable Living Trusts, or sometimes Wills, as the centerpiece of the estate plan.
  • Irrevocable Trusts. These include irrevocable life insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts ("QPRTs"), generation-skipping trusts (sometimes call "dynasty trusts"), trusts for grandchildren, and other specialized trusts.
  • Retirement Plan Trusts. Retirement plan owners ("participants") use these trusts to name a beneficiary of their retirement plans on the Participant's death. Retirement plan trusts can protect the plan assets from premature distribution to young beneficiaries to ensure that the income tax free build up of plan assets is stretched out in the manner desired by the Participant. (Retirement plans include IRAs, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and other tax deferred plans.
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts ("GRATs") and sales to intentional grantor trusts ("IGTs"), sometimes also called intentionally defective grantor trusts ("IDGTs").
  • 501(c)(3) tax exempt private foundations and other charitable planning that perpetuates values while saving income and estate taxes.
  • Business succession planning.
  • Asset protection planning.

Charitable Tax Planning Many individuals and families care a great deal about their favorite charities and want to include them in their estate plans. Some individuals and families create private foundations (called private family foundations) to keep money under their own family's control that would otherwise go to the government.  These 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations may take the form Not-for-Profit Corporations or charitable trusts.

Tax-wise charitable giving not only perpetuates one's values, but also serves as powerful income and estate tax savings tools. Mee Mee Hoge & Epperson PLLP also works with clients to provide life incomes for them with charitable remainder annuity trusts ("CRATs") and charitable remainder unitrusts ("CRUTs") while minimizing their income and estate tax burdens. Our firm focuses on helping clients find the right charitable-giving vehicle to meet their charitable goals, as well as their personal tax and financial goals.

Contact our office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to discuss your specific estate planning goals. We will help you find ways to protect your family's success. We can help you minimize estate taxes, avoid probate court, and reduce the likelihood that your estate plan will be contested. We offer highly personalized estate planning services for families who care about thoughtfully providing for future generations and preserving the assets passed on to those generations.

Special Needs - Trusts for Special Needs Children When a child has a disability, the family wants the child to live as independently, productively and happily as possible. To accomplish this goal when the parents are no longer here to care for the disabled child, the family estate plan should provide that the disabled child receives his or her inheritance in a Special Needs Trust ("SNT").

The SNT is structured so that its assets are not "available resources" that disqualify the disabled child from receiving public benefits, such as SSI and Medicaid. This maximizes the preservation of the disabled child's inheritance. It also provides a source of funding for the special needs, over and above available governmental benefits, that enhances the disabled child's quality of life.

Those special needs include, but are not limited to, education, tutoring, traveling, entertainment, private residential care, additional food, clothing, electronic equipment, vehicles, companions, etc. The SNT can also fund a care manager, therapy, medical care, dental care, rehabilitation training, etc. over and above what would otherwise be provided by public benefits.