Life after Death: The Importance of Estate Planning

Life after Death: The Importance of Estate Planning

Do you want to specify exactly where your assets will go after you pass away? Do you want to avoid the probate process? Do you want to make certain that assets won’t be given outright to a minor or that your young children are responsibly taken care of – money wise? Then it is time to start considering estate planning.

Whether you are single, married, have children, or have fur children, you ought to make sure your surviving spouse, surviving children, and/or surviving animals are provided for as you see fit. This can be done with an array of estate planning techniques.

Moreover, even though it is often the last thing you are thinking about when a loved one dies, probate and assets are an important aspect to consider. To ensure those who will keep your legacy going will undergo a smooth process, a probate attorney should be at hand, so the rightful people have access to their deserved assets.

We speak with Donna Jackson, an attorney who works hard to ensure her clients are given all the support they need, in regard to assets and estate planning.


With almost 30 years of legal experience how have you seen client’s concerns change over the years?

When I started practicing law in 1988, the clients’ major concerns were avoiding probate and avoiding paying estate taxes.  Today, clients worry about the cost of long term care and losing everything to the nursing home.


Are there any changes in regulations that account towards this?

In 1988, any estate over $600,000 not passing to the surviving spouse was subject to federal estate tax.  But now in 2018, estates under $11,200,000 are exempt from federal estate taxes.


There are various types of trusts: which do you think clients often are unaware about?

Most clients are not aware of Special Needs Trusts for incapacitated beneficiaries. In addition, there are irrevocable trusts available to help clients qualify for Medicaid and veteran’s benefits.


With a specialism in Elder Law, what do you think is the most concerning issues the aging population face?

The major concern is funding health care and long-term care.


Can you advise to what is the best methodology to ensure that families and family businesses are secure for the future generations?

I am a believer in establishing trusts and family limited liability companies for succession planning to preserve the family business and family farm.


What is the biggest challenge you face during probate law and how do you overcome the said challenge?

The biggest challenge in probate is the time and cost of probate.  Probate records are public and there is no privacy.


Reports state that the elderly are more vulnerable to financial fraud; why do you think that is and how do you ensure your clients are protected?

Elder abuse and exploitation are growing issues.  There are lots of abuse of durable power of attorneys.  Attorneys need to education and counsel clients about who should have power of attorney.  Attorneys need to be observant about undue influence and incapacitated of the client.


Is there anything else you would like to add?

As our clients’ lives change, the estate planning need to be reviewed and updated.


Donna Jackson


0404 Vineyard Blvd, Ste E, Oklahoma City, OK 73120

(405) 840-1874


Donna J. Jackson is a nationally-recognized attorney, authority, speaker and educator in estate planning. Ms. Jackson is a CPA and hold a Masters Degree (L.L.M.) in Elder Law. With over 28 years of legal experience, she mostly practices in estate planning with an emphasis on Medicaid, VA Benefits, and special needs planning, including revocable, irrevocable and special needs trusts, wills, durable power of attorneys, and living wills. Additionally, Donna’s practice includes taxes, probates, and business organisations.

Donna currently serves on the board of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; she’s on numerous committees of the American Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, Oklahoma Society of CPAs, and many others. She has been a keynote speaker for the Oklahoma Bar Association, Strafford, and the National Business Institute (NBI). She was honored as one of the 2011-2015 Five Star Wealth Managers in Estate Planning in the Oklahoma Magazine.

We’ve been practicing business law for over 25 years and we’ve found that our clients truly appreciate the time and effort we put into every aspect of their business. We’re here to help you succeed and that’s something we don’t take lightly.

At Donna J. Jackson, Attorney at Law, PC we are here to listen to your needs and help you accomplish your business goals in any way we can. We know that starting a business can be tough on your wallet, and we’ve got a number of different options that you and your company can review to keep costs as low as possible.


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