Estate Planning articles
Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we have reasons to celebrate and great news about our professional team.
Its better to be safe than sorry. Make your estate planning a priority in 2021.
2020 was without a doubt an interesting year. Despite all the challenges, the economy rebounded sharply. What does the future have in store for 2021?
Lessons on estate planning from Thoreau’s masterpiece.
Recently, Thomas W. Wilkins retired as CEO of Trust Company of Oklahoma after 30 years serving our clients. He will remain as Chairman of our Board of Directors and the values he has instilled in all of us are his strongest legacy.
Couples get better investment results when both spouses discuss their views with their financial professionals.
It is my pleasure to share with you some great news about our professional team.
Six tips to avoid mistakes and litigation when serving as individual trustee.
The essential estate planning documents to ensure your new adult is legally and financially prepared for adulthood.
Trust Company of Oklahoma (TCO) is proud to announce that Vice President Whittney Stauffer has been elected to the Friends of Finance Board of Directors.
The slate of officers for 2020-2021 is comprised of President: Lane Wilson, Williams; Vice President: Mike Osborne, Ernst & Young; Treasurer: T. D. Eureste, ONEOK, Inc.; and Secretary: Mike Neal, Tulsa Regional Chamber.
Since 1985, the organization founded by the University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business has brought leading business executives to TU’s campus to share their perspectives on business issues.
“Friends of Finance fosters meaningful conversations about the economy and the financial industry. As past president of the Friends of Finance Board, I have personally supported the organization over the years. TCO is extremely proud of Whittney’s commitment to serve the organization as a board member. Her experience and skills will certainly enrich Friends of Finance’s mission” stated James F. Arens II, president and CEO of Trust Company of Oklahoma.
About Trust Company of Oklahoma
Founded in 1981, Trust Company of Oklahoma provides asset management and unbiased financial advice for individuals, families and organizations in Oklahoma and throughout the country. Trust Company of Oklahoma currently manages approximately $4.5 billion in client assets from their offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Tulsa World, July 26, 2020
James F. Arens II, CFA is Trust Company of Oklahoma’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Michael Hopper, CFP®, CTFA its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Thomas W. Wilkins is retiring as CEO after thirty years with the Tulsa-headquartered firm. Tom will continue to serve on the company’s Board of Directors.
James F. Arens, II
Jim joined Trust Company of Oklahoma (TCO) in 1997. For 12 years, he served as the company’s Chief Investment Officer and became President in 2019. Jim is also a member of TCO’s Board of Directors. He earned a Bachelor’s in Finance and Accounting from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Jim holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, is past president of the CFA Society of Oklahoma and is active in the CFA Institute.
Jim serves on Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum National Board, the Asbury United Methodist Church Administrative Council and as Chairman of the University of Tulsa Student Investment Fund Board. He also serves on the investment committees for Holland Hall and the University of Texas MBA Student Investment Fund. Additionally, he is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) in Tulsa.
“Jim has demonstrated dedication to our clients and to the company for over two decades. His experience as Chief Investment Officer at TCO, along with his management skills, are two of the many reasons why our company is in great hands,” stated Thomas W. Wilkins. “I can’t wait to see TCO continue to grow under Jim’s leadership,” he added.
Michael has been with TCO since 2013. He is an Executive Vice President, a member of the Board of Directors, and Manager of the Agency Division. Michael serves individuals, families and businesses with trust management, retirement planning and financial advice. Prior to joining TCO, he accumulated nearly 10 years of insurance and investment experience.
Michael has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. He is the current President of the Tulsa Estate Planning Forum. Michael is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professional and holds the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor designation.
About Trust Company of Oklahoma
Trust Company of Oklahoma is the oldest and largest independent trust company in the state, with locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Founded in 1981, the firm provides asset management and unbiased financial advice for individuals, families, and other organizations in Oklahoma and throughout the country. TCO currently manages approximately $4.5 billion in client assets.
Tulsa, Okla., July 26th, 2020: Trust Company of Oklahoma (TCO), the oldest and largest independent trust company in the state, is proud to announce the promotions of Philip D. Mock to Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Nick Gallus to Director of Investment Research, and Bri Ghosn to Controller. In addition, TCO has hired John Priebe and Jackie Jimenez as Assistant Vice President and Compliance Officer, respectively.
PHILIP D. MOCK
As Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and member of the Board of Directors, Philip D. Mock, CFA, CPA, CFP® will manage TCO’s investment portfolio. He joined the company in 2016 as a portfolio manager. Since then, he has been helping clients achieve long-term goals by developing a tailored investment plan. Prior to that, he worked at Mariner Wealth Advisors, at BOK Financial and at PwC, LLP. Philip holds a master’s degree in Accounting and Bachelor’s in Accounting and Sociology – all from Oklahoma State University. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. Philip is a member of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Director of Investment Research Nick Gallus, CFA joined TCO in 2014, where he serves as a portfolio manager in the Investment Management Division. In his new role, Nick will analyze, assemble and design investment strategies for TCO’s clients and assist with the implementation of their investment portfolios. Nick has more than a dozen years of experience in the investment management industry, spending the first half of his career as a securities analyst at several different firms. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the CFA Society of Oklahoma. Nick also has experience as a credit analyst of high yield bonds and structured products. A native of Minnesota, Nick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business, Finance from the University of Minnesota in 2003 and his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013.
Vice President and Controller Bri Ghosn, CPA, CFP®, CDFA® will have responsibility for all accounting-related activities. She joined TCO in 2018 after working at Mariner Wealth Advisors for five years. Before that, she was a tax analyst for individuals and small businesses at CCK Strategies, as well as a relationship associate in trust administration for Bank of Oklahoma. Bri has over a decade of experience helping clients navigate the complexities of financial planning. She is a CPA and holds both the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) designations. She graduated from Northeastern State University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.
John Priebe will provide TCO clients with investment management advice. John came to the firm from Mariner Wealth Advisors, where he worked as a Wealth Advisor. His duties there included analyzing risk, financial planning, and investment management for private clients and family offices. Prior to that, John spent 12 years working at Northern Trust in various roles across the country. John graduated from North Central College with a Bachelor’s in Small Business Management and from Lynn University with an MBA in Investment Management. John holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. He is a member of the CFA Society of Oklahoma, and a CFA Level II candidate.
Jackie Jimenez has over a decade of experience in the accounting and auditing industry. She previously served as a Senior Auditor for firms in Texas as well as Tulsa (OK), with an emphasis in financial institutions and retirement plans. As a Senior Auditor, she has supervised staff members and collaborated with clients to ensure internal audits, agreed-upon-procedures, or year-end audits were appropriately completed. A native of Texas, Jackie earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a major in Accounting and a Master of Science, Accounting from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio (TX).
“Both John and Jackie add a lot of value to our group of professionals. With their experience working with individual and institutional clients, along with their strong knowledge of investment management and auditing, John and Jackie will help us serve clients with the highest level of expertise,” stated James F. Arens II, president and CEO of the Oklahoma asset management firm.
About Trust Company of Oklahoma
Founded in 1981, Trust Company of Oklahoma provides asset management and unbiased financial advice for individuals, families and organizations in Oklahoma and throughout the country. Trust Company of Oklahoma currently manages approximately $5 billion in client assets from their offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma families now have the right to install monitoring cameras in assisted living residents’ rooms. This could help avoid abuse and neglect, but also provide peace of mind during lockdowns. Read Lesa Creveling’s article on Tulsa World.
Key documents to ensure your health care decisions will be followed.
Dealing with a worldwide pandemic, the TCO way. Read more.
IRA and estate planning without the stretch provision.
Have you received a stimulus payment made to your deceased spouse? Here is how to return it.
If you (or a family member) ever placed a child for adoption and don’t want him to be an heir, you should revisit your estate planning documents.
U.S. crude sold at -$37.63 a barrel on Monday, a historic drop below zero. How did we get to this point in the oil and gas industry?
How will the COVID-19 social distancing affect your life going forward? Read.
Our offices are open and our professionals continue to serve you. Read more.
You can’t control the stock markets nor stop COVID-19. Managing investments in the midst of the pandemic.
The SECURE Act eliminated a popular feature, the “Stretch IRA.” Learn how this will impact your estate planning and charitable contributions.
As COVID-19 grips the nation, the IRS delayed the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes. Read more.
Our offices are open and our services continue uninterrupted. Read more.
In times of uncertainty with stock market and health concerns, it is easy to let fear paralyze us. Read Lesa Creveling’s article.
Although you may ask a relative or a friend to be your trustee, a corporate trustee can be a wiser choice. Learn more.
While confronting mortality can be difficult for any parent, it’s beneficial to leave your nominated guardian with a guide for raising your children in the event of your absence or incapacity. Learn more.
While the topic of substance abuse in families can be difficult, it’s a growing epidemic that is important to take into account when estate planning.
Do not fall for the Suspended Social Security Number scam.
Some resolutions are hard to accomplish. This one is easy – but very important, especially with the passage of the SECURE Act.
Let’s raise a glass to the new year! We have two new officers and several professionals have been promoted.
If you have an IRA heading into 2020, here’s what you need to know about the new tax law and how it may impact your retirement and estate planning.
Our Chief Investment Officer looks back at 2019. Stock returns were very strong, but the bond market forced investors to play the limbo game.
Now that the holidays are officially behind us, many of you are revisiting that final vestige of the season: the resolution list.
While record-keeping can be a tedious task, it’s essential to being a responsible property owner.
While dividing attendees into two tables works well for a packed house during the holidays, don’t apply this philosophy to estate planning.
Changes may be on the horizon for legislation regarding Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Understanding and reviewing the proposed bills is prudent before making estate planning decisions.
Litigation can be destructive to families, both financially and emotionally. Learn how families can avoid the courts to settle their differences.
Summer was busy at TCO with some great achievements by our professional team and two new officers joining our firm.
Our colleague is taking an early retirement at the end of the year. Although we don’t normally announce retirements in this publication, it is important to note a few of Bob’s lasting impacts on us, his colleagues.
What do Aretha Franklin, President Abraham Lincoln and Prince have in common? Find out.
Making Sense of the Recent Yield Curve
There can be big benefits to your family knowing your estate plan. But how to communicate to your heirs who gets what without spoiling the relationships with each of them?
Family structures have become more complex over the last few decades. Most households are now the result of blended families with working moms, adopted kids, second marriages, and the list goes on. Your estate plan needs to be customized for your specific situation.
Here we share some important guidance on when to withdraw funds from your IRA. While withdrawal may seem like an easy task, you may find yourself paying more in taxes than necessary.
We have served our clients with a fiduciary duty since our founding in 1981.
Avoid being a victim of financial exploitation.
Individual trustees do not need to face all the challenges alone.
I have many reason to be proud of who we are and the services we offer
How to handle cars in estate planning
Understanding your will and how your assets will be divided
Effective retirement planning involves being healthy. Learn how to protect your wealth and your health after you retire.
Are you, your family members and professional advisors rowing in the same direction when it comes to your estate plan?
Social Security benefits are an important component to retirement planning. Here’s what you need to know about receiving Social Security on your spouse.
Financial exploitation and elder abuse continue to rise. How can you protect yourself and your lifetime savings? Read Lesa’s article.
It is important to invest in international stocks. Here’s why.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a super document. It allows a trusted representative to act in your place. Learn how a DPOA can help you.
“Why should anyone hire Trust Company of Oklahoma to serve as corporate trustee and invest the assets if a family member can do it for free?” she asked me. Here’s what I responded.
Are you a small business owner or investor? Please meet Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction.
Batman, the first comic strip trust fund baby, turns 80 today. What lessons can we draw from the Dark Knight?
The oldest and largest independent trust company in the state is pleased to announce that Ron Burke joined the firm as a senior vice president in the Oklahoma City region.
Easily find out how much you owe the IRS on income taxes, long-term investment capital gains taxes, or trust taxes. A printable cheat sheet to keep on your desk.
Each day, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients are at a high risk of being financially exploited. Learn how to spot it and how to prevent it.
The oil and gas market has been a rollercoaster. Oil barrels reached the $75 price range then dropped again. What does 2019 hold for the energy industry?
It was a challenging year for investors. We wrapped up 2018 with a second 10% correction for the year. What’s driving investor anxiety and how does 2019 look like for the markets?
What You Need To Know Before Signing Up for Medical Coverage.
Estate planning and asset protection are really nothing more than building and maintaining fences. A successful plan keeps the cows (assets) in and the wolves (creditors) out.
The Trump administration recently imposed steep tariffs on several countries, including China. In retaliation, China imposed tariffs on American products. This isn’t the first time the U.S. grapples with competitive tariffs, though. Learn more about our country’s history of tariff conflicts and the current conflict’s impact on our economy.
Market Observations by Bob McCormick – September 2018
Legendary singer and songwriter, Aretha Franklin died in August. Without a will. As a result, her assets are to be divided equally between her four sons per statute set by the state of Michigan. It is estimated her estate, including business interests and artistic work, is worth upwards of $80 million, so a really large estate tax also appears due. Proper estate planning would have possibly saved her family millions.
Ms. Franklin was also characterized as intensely private. How ironic then that her death without an estate plan makes her finances very public for the whole world to see. Plus, if there is litigation due to the absence of planning, the settlement could drag on for years and cost a lot of money.
Dying intestate (without a will) may be fine for some people.* Yet, the need for an estate plan usually gets stronger as we age, marry, have children, become blended families and grow our wealth. I am not going to delve into the affliction PRD-itis** (Procrastination, Rationalization, Denial), but why is it so hard for some of us to do the important planning when it comes the time?
Here are a few of the more common reasons we have heard over the years that cause inaction:
- My assets are held in joint tenancy with my spouse and in accounts with specified beneficiary designations. This may work out for some couples, at least for the spouse who dies first, and if both spouses are competent.
- My spouse and I cannot agree on a plan. This is a big hurdle so it’s definitely time to get real-world guidance from an estate planning professional so that you can try to find common ground.
- I am not sure who to leave my estate to. Remember, if you don’t decide, the state has already decided for you. Make sure you are fine with its formulas.
- I am having difficulty how best to address the need to treat one or more children differently. It is a fact of life that not all kids are ready for wealth at the same time or same age. Professionals can help design estate plans to handle all sorts of family needs and dynamics.
- I don’t want to incur big attorney fees. This may be a case of penny wise, pound foolish. You should be able to get the legal services you need at a fair price. Some estates need complex (read expensive) planning while many others do not.
- “I can ignore it since I’m not going to die right away.” “It’s too depressing.” “I don’t like to think about it.” “I haven’t had time.” “I don’t care – I will be dead.” Ok, these are not valid reasons but cases of PRD-itis. Sometimes the person suffers from a severe case and just says “I’m not going to die.” This last one has a really poor track record.
The importance of wills and estate planning cannot be stressed enough.
I don’t know why Ms. Franklin didn’t have even a will, much less a trust to keep her estate transfer private. And she appears to have been a prime candidate for more comprehensive planning to reduce estate taxes and protect assets from illegitimate heirs and other “hanger-on’ers“. Maybe she struggled with some of the same issues many of us have. Yet, the right planning will not only put our own minds at ease but make our family’s life less stressful.***
*I am not an attorney so nothing I say should be confused with legal advice.
**I made this ailment up.
***Other parts of an estate plan often include a power of attorney and an advance health care directive. These are two big items that help your family handle matters when you are alive but are unable to act or decide on your own.
Market Observations by Bob McCormick – September 2018
• 3 seconds for a cheetah to go from zero to sixty;
• Less than 1 second for an Indy 500 car to travel the length of a football field;
• Less than ½ second for a baseball to travel 60 feet, 6 inches from the pitcher’s mound to home plate at 100 mph.
I thought about the speed of things when I read that high heat and humidity in New Jersey last month was slowing down radio waves that were transmitting trade data between Nasdaq’s center in Carteret to the New York Stock Exchange’s facility in Mahwah. That’s about 27 miles as the crow flies. The 90-degree heat combined with 60 percent humidity caused the data to be delayed by about 8 microseconds.
A microsecond is one-millionth of a second. Sum up about 350,000 microseconds and you have the time it takes the average person to blink, so 8 of these is still pretty darn fast in my book.
What would the founders of the NYSE think of this as they signed the agreement under the shade of a buttonwood tree forming the exchange on May 17, 1792?
It is astounding this delay makes a difference for some investors. Not for us, mere mortals, but for computer-driven, high-frequency trading (HFT) firms the delay was noticeable – and newsworthy. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in 2010 on building just one fiber optics line from Chicago to New York in order to increase one-way speeds by about 3 milliseconds (3,000ths of a second) – over 300 times faster than it takes to blink. Since then, at least two competing microwave networks have been built to increase speeds by even a few more milliseconds between these two cities. Big bucks spent for minuscule, but profitable, time improvements.
Consider these speeds the next time you are sitting around in your pajamas day-trading on your laptop, trying to take advantage of the tiny little blips in stock prices that occur throughout the day. It’s not just some big powerful machine you are competing with. It is the near speed of light trading you are racing against. May the force, and very fast fingers, be with you.
Many retirees mistakenly believe that once they retire they won’t have to pay taxes anymore. Your retirement success depends on planning carefully your income and taxes. Read article.
Corporate earnings are growing at a double-digit rate, yet halfway through the year the S&P 500 posted a meager 2.6% return. Read Bob’s investment market commentary.
The cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise in 2017 had the investment community in awe. Today, the Bitcoin phenomenon has turned into a bloodbath. Investors’ confidence is gone. Read an interview with Senior Vice President Michael Abboud about Bitcoin’s rise and fall.
Congress recently passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill affects most taxpayers. One area is the ability to deduct charitable contributions. Vice President Emily Crain broke it down to what you need to know.
A lot of factors impact economic growth, and demographics are certainly one of them. The government just released the 2017 births report, and the findings show a 30-year low in the number of births and a large increase in deaths for age group 25-34. Read Bob’s commentary.
Along with getting married and having kids, retiring is one of the most serious decisions you will make in life. If you plan carefully, your retirement years can be filled with joy and financial independence. But the alternative can lead you to serious financial problems. Here are our top 5 retirement planning mistakes to avoid in order to achieve a successful retirement.
Planning for retirement involves balancing what you’re willing to set aside now with what you’ll pay in taxes while in retirement. Splitting your retirement savings between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) — or IRA — is sound planning.
It always seems to be the season for financial abuse and scamming of the elderly.
Family legacy properties are extremely emotional assets. The feelings triggered by the thought of parting with the family farm, lake cabin or beach house can become the cause of tension among family members.
Odds are you too have invested far more time than necessary researching some banal household purchase. But if you are nearing your retirement or are already in the midst of it, how much time have you have considered your income strategy in retirement? Was it more or less than the time spent on your last Amazon.com purchase?
Old age “ain’t for sissies.” There is some truth to that.
Creating a trust is a very important step in the estate planning process; but without funding the trust, there is no value to the trust document.
How to Make a Roth Work for You
U.S. stocks were up modestly the first half of the year. The trip was anything but calm. A sharp drop early in the year was followed by a rally moving in tandem with higher oil prices.
Learn to Love the Pullbacks
Learn to Love the Pullbacks
Learn to Love the Pullbacks
by Robert McCormick
There are five words investors should always use with caution: “It is different this time”. In this article Bob suggests two unusual suspects which may explain why “different” may be happening now.
The Real Deal?
by Scott Cravens
Forget about the get rich quick schemes for a moment and read Scott’s level-headed advice about the pros and cons of owning real estate.
In this article, Jamie provides important counsel on how to prepare for your children’s future.
Will the Bull Stumble in 2014?
Will the Bull Stumble in 2014?
In this article, Melissa Taylor sheds light on a subject that has never crossed the minds of many, Digital Assets & Estate Planning.
In Debi Combs article, Fees Matter, she explains the importance of knowing what fees are being charged in your 401(k) plan and how those fees can effect your bottom line at retirement.
Two popular yet contradictory mindsets in modern culture say that you should love what you do and that you should strive to stop doing it as early as possible.
Jamie O’Shields writes about unfunded living trusts and the dangers of staying in the hot seat.