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HIPAA waivers, or HIPAA authorization documents, are very overlooked pieces of a family estate plan. Let’s say you have an 18-year-old child who is heading off to college. If that child has a medical event and is taken to the emergency room, you (the parent) would not be allowed to receive any medical information about your child while they’re at the emergency room due to HIPAA laws. The same would go for an 87-year-old father-in-law.

A HIPAA authorization document names the people who you authorize medical information about you to be released to, commonly your close family members or anybody who would actually need to receive said information. The document can be tailored to exclude certain people from certain types of information, but it ultimately should be renewed every single year.

What Are The Inheritance Tax Rules In Oklahoma?

Currently, there are no inheritance tax rules in Oklahoma. That means there is not much state-specific tax planning going on right now.

Do Beneficiaries Or Heirs Have To Pay Taxes When Inheriting Money In Oklahoma?

Heirs and beneficiaries typically do not have to pay taxes when inheriting money in Oklahoma. However, special attention should be paid to the basis, or the purchase price, of any real property or other pieces of property that may have appreciated significantly in value. Certain assets can be stepped up in value as to their basis at death, but some may not be able to. It is important to pay attention to the different tax consequences and the types of transactions when dealing with property.

Are There Estate Planning Strategies That I Should Be Using To Mitigate Tax Issues In Oklahoma?

A careful review of your estate and the type of assets that you own is crucial to ensuring that your estate is always in the best possible position.

Are Any Changes Expected In Tax Laws Or Estate Planning Laws In Oklahoma Under The Biden Administration?

There are several significant tax changes that have been recommended by the new administration, but they have yet to be implemented. The most significant among these that would impact an estate plan or people looking to do an estate plan would be the elimination of the step up in basis treatment of certain assets at death.

A common example of this would be a house that your parents purchased back in 1950. The purchase price of the home was probably around $15,000. That same home today might be worth $150,000. When your parents die and the property is transferred to you, their sole heir, you will get what is known as the step up in basis, under the current law. That means when it comes time for you to sell that house, your value that you purchased it for will be the fair market value at the time of your parents’ death, and you will pay tax on any difference between your sale price and that value.

What Types Of Estate Planning Cases Do You Prefer To Handle In Oklahoma?

One of the best cases for our firm to work on is Medicaid planning or asset protection through irrevocable trusts. Medicaid planning in Oklahoma is the process of making a plan to pay for your long-term care expenses, typically nursing home care. Under Oklahoma law, a married spouse staying in the home may be able to keep the home, a vehicle, and up to approximately $25,000 worth of assets in the bank account. If an individual is living alone and needs to apply for Medicaid, they will be forced to spend all of their money down to approximately $2,000 before Medicaid will pay for their long-term care and their nursing home.

By using an irrevocable trust, you can transfer ownership of big-ticket assets such as your home and significant financial accounts. Medicaid looks back after a certain time (right now, that period is five years, or 60 months after when you applied) to see if any transactions have happened during that time period. So, if you fund an irrevocable trust and then need to apply for Medicaid five years and one day later, you will completely qualify for Medicaid. In their eyes, your irrevocable trust will own all of your property.

This is just one way that you may be able to protect your homestead or your retirement accounts or any other significant assets that you have spent your life saving, earning, and building. An irrevocable trust may be able to let you transfer those assets to your children or the beneficiaries that you want as opposed to the state of Oklahoma.

For more information on Setting Up an Estate Plan in Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 455-3599 today.

Chase Grant, Esq.

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