Shawn J. Roberts

Writing about law, technology and productivity

estate planning

What is the IRS annual exclusion?

Every US citizen has what is known as the annual exclusion which allows the person to gift away up to whatever the current year amount is without either having to file an IRS Gift Tax Return or being subject to any tax. The annual exclusion amount for 2015 is $14,000.00. That means an individual could […]


How are the federal estate tax and gift tax connected?

Do you know why the federal estate tax and the federal gift tax are often addressed in the same discussion? Although the federal estate tax and federal gift tax are separate statutes, they are connected by what is known as the unified credit. The unified credit is automatically provided by the IRS Code to every […]


What is that coupon (unified credit) the IRS provides?

Do you know what the Internal Revenue Service and your local grocery store have in common? They both provide you with coupons you can apply to reduce the amount you required to pay! Well, the IRS’s “coupon” is not exactly like scoring big with a $2.00 off coupon for Tide Detergent.  The IRS administers the […]


You need to know . . . when the IRS thinks you have made a gift

Since the word “gift” is at the heart of federal estate taxation, it makes sense to understand how the IRS views the term IRS Gift.  The IRS states that a gift is: The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full […]


Will the Oklahoma summary probate process help you?

Do you know what the Oklahoma summary probate process is?   Definition Summary probate is a shorter, quicker version of a full-blown probate. Rather than there being two hearings in front of the Judge, there is only one hearing, at the end of the process. To give you an idea of what to expect, below is […]


Faceoff – the Living Trust vs. the Simple Will

Living Trust vs. Simple Will This table compares the benefits of the revocable living trust and a simple last will and testament. A revocable living trust is an agreement that determines how a person’s assets are handled during their lifetime and how it is distributed after death. A simple Will distributes a person’s assets after […]

A few times when it is critical to update your Will or Trust – Oklahoma Estate Planning

It is huge accomplishment to have your Last Will and Testament done. You can rest easier knowing you have provided for your family and created an orderly plan to transfer what you have to who you want it to go to. Once you have this done, there are several times in your life when you […]

The process of naming a guardian for your children

While it is not the most exciting part of the estate planning process, nominating the people you want to be guardian of your children obviously has a huge impact.  When parents pass away, the guardianship of minor children is established by a court.  The court either follows a statute which lists relatives who are entitled […]

Oklahoma estate planning: If I have a living trust, do I still need a will?

I have talked quite a bit both on this blog and in my Oklahoma estate planning podcast about how the living trust in last will and testament work together. However, I realize there are still some questions about why someone would have a will if they already have a living trust. Also, the question comes […]


Can I give away all my property so my spouse gets nothing with Oklahoma Estate Planning?

I’m not sure why someone would want to do this, but in Oklahoma there are laws that prohibit it. One is the statutory prohibition on the right of a spouse to will away from the surviving spouse so much of the estate that the surviving spouse would receive less in value than an undivided one-half […]

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