Estate planning is a complex area of the law, with regulations and directives that are changing from year to year, and at all times, lawyers need to be ready to advise on all the latest legal updates, and be highly aware of the most efficient ways to minimize taxes and expenses surrounding the transfer of estate and assets. That’s where this thought leader’s experience and forward looking attitude comes in.
Here Donna Jackson, Founder of her own firm, Donna J. Jackson, Attorney at Law, PC, gives brief insight over the work her and her firm does in estate planning, her thought leadership therein, and an provides an overview of the kinds of clients she works with daily in Oklahoma, US.
What would you say are the most common obstacles clients face in the US as they look to plan their estates?
Estate planning is not just about dying and saving estate taxes. Clients worry about who and how they are going to take of themselves and their families if they get sick and have to go to a nursing home.
Many people would assume that when one dies or becomes mentally disabled, without proper estate planning, their assets automatically pass to their next of kin or offspring. Are they wrong and why?
Assets do not automatically pass to the spouse first, then the kids. If a husband dies without a will or trust in place, the spouse will only end up with part of the husband’s estate, depending whether there are children of this marriage, children of prior marriage, no children, and parents living.
What would you say makes you the go-to attorney for estate planning in Oklahoma?
The greatest fear that drives people to my office is illness, often with the threat of nursing home confinement.
What is currently the scenario in regards to estate planning in the US, particularly pertaining to the IRS and congress?
Currently, there are no estate taxes for estates under $5,430,000. The Presidential candidates and Congress want to change this.
What would you say are still further steps for the US government to implement in terms of estate planning law?
The US Government is implementing legislation to limit the use of discounting when valuing transfers of family owned businesses.
As a thought leader, how are you actively working towards the development or implementation of new estate policies?
I am actively involved with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the American Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Do you have a mantra or motto you live by when working with your clients in this legal segment?
My staff and I help to provide care and peace of mind to my clients and their families.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Estate planning is about taking care of the living!