Questions Answered by Reece B. Morrel Jr

Q: My dad divorced my mom and remarried,he died without a will in Oklahoma. How do I get my share of his estate??

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Jan 10, 2019
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
If a person dies without a will, they have died "intestate."

The next step is for someone to file a "Petition for Probate" and describe how a search for the will was made but no will was found.

The Probate Court then looks to the default distribution rules for heirs as described in the Oklahoma Statutes, and acts accordingly.

To answer your question directly - "How do I get my share of his Estate?" - a petition for probate must be filed.

Q: If partner operates 2nd clinic under same name as 1st with II does contract apply to both, entitled 2 profit from both?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Jan 8, 2019
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Quite frankly, I think the "payout" is the least of your concerns right now.

Obviously, the place to start is with whatever contract, operating agreement (LLC), partnership agreement or shareholder agreement (corporation) you may have. These documents frequently make reference to a "fiduciary" duty which covers such situations.

But I have several other concerns. For example, is the partner using the same tax id number? If so, this could cause problems when it comes time to file...

Q: I pay at least 98% support for grandson n daughter. Can I claim my grandson on income tax?

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
According to the IRS, you can claim someone as a dependent if you provide for more than half of their support. But, this rule can be modified if there is a divorce decree or some other governing document.

Assuming that you meet the requirements, I should warn you that it gets more complicated the 2018 tax year. We no longer keep track of how many personal exemptions we get for each person (i.e. the taxpayer, spouse, and dependents). This got changed in December 2017.

But, it is...

Q: If I live in TX and telecommute for a company in OK as a 1099 contractor, am I responsible for OK income tax?

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Congratulations, you have landed on a real "hot-button" topic - especially when Oklahoma is suffering from a budget crisis.

To be honest, I really need more facts to be able to advise you properly.

But let me give you something to consider. The statute-of-limitations starts to run when the tax return is filed. If a return is never filed, the statute-of-limitations never starts. So, if no return has been filed then the state of Oklahoma can assess tax, interest, penalties...

Q: What do I do if we need an advance care directive for my mother, but she has dementia?

2 Answers | Asked in Elder Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
This is a very good question, and a topic at a continuing education conference I recently attended.

Ultimately, it does depend on how much her dementia impacts her ability to understand what is going on.

Some people may not be able to drive, but can still understand what is going on around them. I have some clients that suffer from "Sundowner's Syndrome" - they do great in the morning but by late afternoon they start to fade. So, we meet in the morning instead of the afternoon....

Q: How long before an estate can no longer go to probate after a person dies with no will in Oklahoma.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Paying real estate taxes does not make someone the owner of the house.

As far as the State of Oklahoma is concerned, your mother-in-law is still the owner. The way to correct this is to file a probate case.

Anyone of the siblings can file a probate. As part of the paperwork, it will be necessary to list the house as an asset.

Then, it will be up to the slow-to-sell-the-house sibling to file a claim with the probate court asking to be reimbursed for the property taxes...

Q: How large does my estate need to be in order to justify hiring an estate planning attorney?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Good question. In all fairness, the value of your estate should not be the primary motivator for hiring an estate planning attorney.

A proper estate plan will describe what actions need to take place to take care of you (your actual physical person) and your property. This "pre-paid" plan then describe what actions should be taken in case you are not able to properly communicate with anyone.

For example, are you unconscious or in a coma while in the hospital? Your Living Will...

Q: What would be a good reason to get a lawyer while going through the probate process?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
The quick answer to your question is that the probate process is a very technical area of the law, and an easily overlooked "mistake" could prove to be very costly and detrimental to your position.

Don't worry about the lions, and tigers, and bears that you hear coming. Worry about the lions, and tigers, and bears that you DON'T HEAR COMING! Those are the ones that will bite you!

Q: Does the fact that a death is a suicide affect the terms of that person's will?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Oklahoma on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your loss.

The only situation that I am aware of involved a murder-suicide.

Spouse #1 killed Spouse #2. Spouse #1 then committed suicide.

Spouse #1 cannot inherit from Spouse #2 since they were the cause of death.

For this and other reasons, the heirs of Spouse #1 did not challenge us during the probate of Spouse #2.

But if the suicide only involved 1 person, generally no.

Q: My wife has a tax question. Per her divorce decree her and her ex are supposed to alternate years claiming their son.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Divorce and Tax Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Nov 19, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
I have worked on several of these cases in the past. Usually, the Judges do a fairly good job of making their instructions clear. If not, the Judge gets to see the case again. Not something they are anxious to do.

If it is not clear, I would have your wife's lawyer contact the ex-husband's lawyer to 1.) clarify or 2.) agree to a schedule. If the ex-husband fails to cooperate and insists on claiming the son every year, then it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with your wife's...

Q: Are there situations where you still need to go through probate even if the decedent had a will?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Nov 5, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
When you file your probate paperwork (the petition) with the court, you actually attach the original will as an exhibit.

Yes, you need to go through probate to see that the will is appropriately administered.

Q: Can my dad will me his business or is there some other step he has to take beyond that to ensure his business transfers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Oklahoma on
Answered on Oct 13, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Yes, there are other steps you need to take. I DO NOT recommend the use of a will to transfer a business because it may take to long to complete the necessary steps.

There are several methods that can be used to transfer your Dad's property interest in his business to you.

However, it is not possible to make a recommendation without knowing the type of property your Dad owns. Common types of property include real estate, stock, personal property, partnership interests, etc....

Q: So my dad had a living trust - is that what we submit to the court?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Sep 26, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
One of the main reasons why a person prepares a "Living Trust" is to avoid the need to probate a will. Consequently, you may not need to submit anything to the Probate Court.

However, if your Dad owned property that was not owned by the "Living Trust", then you will need to file a Petition in Probate Court and attach a copy of the will. The Probate process will allow you to properly transfer the property to the heirs named in the will.

Please keep in mind that it is typical...

Q: If my grandma signed a nursing home arbitration agreement two days before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, is it

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Sep 24, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
You probably should consult with an attorney on this one. Your specific case will be very "fact-intensive."

In order to sign a contract, you must have "legal capacity." If your grandmother did not have legal capacity (due to Alzheimer's), the next question to ask is whether or not the nursing home knew or should have known that she did not have legal capacity.

By the way, on it's face, there is nothing wrong about having an arbitration clause - they are very common and are...

Q: How does an advanced healthcare directive work in the context of estate planning?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Oklahoma on
Answered on Sep 24, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
In traditional estate planning, we are concerned with 2 major areas. The first is the "health" of the client, and the "second" is the property of the client.

When dealing with the "health" of the client, we are concerned about 2 time periods. The first time period deals with "maintenance" i.e. doctor appointments, prescription refills, hearing aids, etc. The second time period deals with "end-of-life" care and decisions.

The "Advanced Healthcare Directive" deals with...

Q: My dad passed away, and owned his house can they take it from us.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Sep 7, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
In a probate case, the petitioner (you, on behalf of your family) will:

1. Gather ALL the assets of your Dad (real estate, bank accounts, tangible property, etc.)

2. Determine any taxes owed (federal and state income tax, real estate tax, etc.)

3. Determine any debts owed (mortgages, credit cards, liens, etc.)

4. Pay-off any taxes or debts (this may require that some assets be sold)

5. Distribute any remaining assets to the surviving heirs

You...

Q: Can I petition for guardianship or conservatorship for my mom in OK if I live in IL?

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Sep 4, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Yes, you may petition for Guardianship but you will need someone residing in Oklahoma to help "administer" the Guardianship - someone that the Court has authority over.

Q: Company makes us file as independent contractor but we’re employees. Is there an anonymous way to report them?

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Tax Law and Business Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Aug 20, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Welcome to the murky waters of employee vs. independent contractor.

Part of the problem is that you have several agencies - both federal and state - with overlapping jurisdiction.

In Oklahoma, you have the IRS, the OTC and the OESC just to name a few.

Not only that, but a decision by the IRS is not binding on the OTC and OESC, and vice versa. In other words, there is not a central agency that gets to make the decision, and make the decision binding on everyone else....

Q: Can a child I've disowned still somehow get my assets if I don't write my will in the correct way?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Oklahoma on
Answered on Aug 14, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
It depends on how you have "disowned" them.

If you do not have any estate planning documents such as a will or trust, then a Probate Court will follow the Oklahoma statutes as to how you property is distributed to your heirs - which can include your children.

YOU are able to override these "default" settings with properly prepared estate planning documents (will, trust, etc.).

In order to specifically address your questions and concerns, you should contact a lawyer for...

Q: Can people of any income level qualify for Medicare?

2 Answers | Asked in Elder Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Aug 3, 2018
Reece B. Morrel Jr's answer
Typically, income is not considered in determining eligibility.

The usual age of eligibility is 65 years old. However, Medicare is available to those that have been eligible for Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months or who have end-stage renal disease.

Hope this helps!

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