Estate Planning Lawyers in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Protect your legacy and avoid heartbreaking family conflicts after you’re gone with friendly, accessible, and customized estate planning services that include living trusts, wills, and medical directives from Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig’s Tulsa Oklahoma estate planning lawyers.

The lawyers at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig can assist in ensuring your estate, tax, and retirement goals will be met.  Our estate planning attorneys can help you determine how best to manage your property, money, and other belongings, also called your “estate”—both while you are alive and after you die. This planning can include creating permanent documents to make advance determinations about who controls your medical plans and finances and ensuring the proper transfer of assets to your family members. Our teams experience and deep knowledge of estate planning law means we can strategically discuss and execute your plan while implementing tax minimizing strategies that will avoid probate, court fees, and oversight costs and at the same time ensuring your wishes are properly carried out.

Some additional issues that you might consider when preparing estate planning documents or wills:

  • Do any of your dependents or beneficiaries have special needs?
  • Are they currently receiving some form of governmental assistance and need to be to be assured that that aid will not be reduced or eliminated by receiving a distribution from your estate?
  • Do you have liability protection for your rental properties, living will?

Wills vs Trusts

A will is a person’s declaration of how one wants their property dispersed after death.  A will does not necessarily avoid probate, because there are complex regulations regarding the validity of any will, it is important to hire an attorney with knowledge and experience.

By maintaining your assets in a trust, you can minimize taxes, avoid probate and leave a larger inheritance to your loved ones. The use of a trust is also a way to provide a steady income to a beneficiary over the course of time, rather than the distribution in a lump sum. Trusts can also be established to benefit charitable organizations. Our team can both set up trusts for you and also help administer trusts.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

A guardianship is a crucial legal tool through which the courts identify a person who has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward.  Guardians are typically used in three situations: guardianship for an incapacitated senior due to old age or infirmity, guardianship for a minor, and guardianship for developmentally disabled adults.

Conservatorship is a legal concept in the United States. A person under conservatorship is a “conservatee,” a term that can refer to an adult. The conservator may be only of the “estate” (financial affairs), but may also be of the “person,” wherein the conservator takes charge of overseeing the daily activities, such as health care or living arrangements of the conservatee. A conservator of the person is more typically called a legal guardian.

Supplemental Needs Trusts

If a beneficiary is receiving funds from a governmental or other non-family agency receiving a distribution from a Trust Estate can jeopardize the continuation of those funds.  Supplemental Needs Trusts provide for the management of funds for the supplemental needs trust during a beneficiary’s entire life. A beneficiary can receive funds from such a trust without compromising public support such as Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain other benefits available through Federal, state, county or local agencies. Thus, individuals with disabilities who receive an inheritance, or an insurance settlement, that would jeopardize benefits can deposit the money in a special needs trust and not lose the benefits.

Trust Administration – (Estate Administration)

After a trust maker dies, the person who has been appointed trustee has the job of administering the trust. This means that the trustee is responsible for managing the trust assets and distributing them according to the instructions contained in the trust agreement.

Trust administration is not a court-supervised process, yet its ultimate goal is also the transfer of assets from an individual who has died to that individual’s beneficiaries who are identified in his/her revocable living trust.  If a trust is not managed correctly after a death, fees and property taxes may be unnecessarily incurred by the estate without the trustees or beneficiaries even knowing what happened.  While there are no legal requirements to use an attorney during the administration process, the most prudent course of action would be to find an experienced trust administration lawyer to help your family through the process.

Estate & Probate Litigation

When disagreements arise in probate and estate administration—and they often do—legal technicalities and family dynamics can complicate things. You may find yourself facing or filing a lawsuit to resolve these conflicts. In these cases, the help of our experienced estate litigation attorneys can make a huge difference.

We are one of few law firms with the particular skill and experience to practice “estate litigation,” which means resolving estate disputes in court. Our firm successfully represents either defendants or plaintiffs in trust disputes, will contests and other estate claims.  Our team has extensive education and experience resolving the broad and complex issues in these areas. When you cannot settle your estate, will, trust, beneficiary or fiduciary disputes out of court, you want an experienced estate litigation team from our team to represent your interests in court.

Tax Planning

Preserving your assets can be as challenging as building them. Our experienced advisers can help you protect your wealth and navigate the process of setting up a trust. We will work with you to recognize potential risks to you and your family, identify ways to minimize your exposure and keep you in control of your financial destiny.

Utilizing personal trust services can help you maintain control

In addition to providing for family, friends, and/or charitable causes & distributing your assets privately and expeditiously, reducing taxes is often a primary goal of many clients.  Please visit our individual national estate planning tax pages below for more information:

  • Special Needs Trusts(SNTs) for spouses or children who may require more advanced planning
  • Estate Tax, Federal and state estate tax page, including a discussion of death and inheritance tax.
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts(CRTs) which secure a planned income stream, structure tax savings, pass wealth to your loved ones, and benefit your charities of choice
  • Generation Skipping Trusts(GSTs) to manage estate tax
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) to establish a specific personal revenue stream while creating a vehicle to transfer wealth during your lifetime (using the leverage available under the Internal Revenue Code)
  • Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) to hold various assets and create gifting plans, while retaining your influence and management over those assets
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts(ILIT) to help reduce or eliminate your estate tax
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT)
  • Qualified Plan Trusts (QPT) to pass on pre-tax dollar earnings and maximize growth potential (IRA, 401(k), SEP accounts)
    Complex real estate holding plans, Guardianships, and Sub Trusts

While estate law is often complicated, our team will make the process straightforward so you can be certain that you’ve made the appropriate arrangements.  You can trust the planning of your estate with our reputable law firm. Our extensive experience with estate law in Tulsa, Oklahoma has established us as the area’s premier provider of estate planning. We offer personalized service that meets the individual needs and goals of each client. We help you develop the legally binding plan that best protects your assets and your family’s future.