Areas of Practice

The attorneys at Boersma Law Firm are the trained and experienced professionals you need for your legal services. We have been helping clients for over thirty years in all types of legal matters from estate planning, corporate law, and real estate law to mediation, family law, and energy law. Whatever your needs may be in those areas, we can help. Check us out.

  • Estate Planning at Boersma Law
  • Corporate Law at Boersma Law
  • Mediation at Boersma Law
  • Energy Law at Boersma Law
  • Family Law at Boersma Law
  • Real Estate Law at Boersma Law

estate planning image

Estate Planning

The greatest gift anyone can give his or her family is a well-planned estate strategy that simplifies the transfer of assets from a decedent to the heirs. No one likes contemplating death, but the failure to do so and to plan appropriately makes a difficult time even worse for those who are left behind. Be it a basic Last Will and Testament or a complex trust arrangement, thoughtful planning ensures that your wishes are carried out by those you leave in charge.

Any estate plan must also, of course, take into consideration the tax consequences of transferring property from a decedent to living heirs. This transfer of property is a potentially taxable event under current Internal Revenue laws, although the State of Oklahoma repealed its inheritance tax effective January 1, 2010, and the federal inheritance tax has seen many changes in recent years. The attorneys at Boersma Law Firm diligently study new tax laws and regulations in order to keep fully informed about changes to inheritance taxes so that we can advise our clients on the best ways to minimize taxes while still carrying out the wishes of the client.

more info

corporate law photo

Corporate Law

The association of persons in pursuit of the same goal into a legalized structure - the corporation -- is the dominant business model in the world. Corporations facilitate business goals while protecting the personal assets of the participants from liability for actions or debts of the corporation. And the protection from liability is the reason corporations are such a popular and important element of business law. Large enterprises, small businesses, family farmers can all benefit from the corporate structure, and the attorneys at Boersma Law Firm are ready to help.

In addition, the attorneys at Boersma Law Firm have extensive experience in representing non-profit corporations. From the creation of the non-profit, through the obtaining of recognition of exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, Boersma Law Firm can handle all the needs of a charitable, educational, or religious organization.

more info

legal mediation photo

Legal Mediation

Mediation is an alternative to court-controlled resolution of disputes. Mediation is often referred to as "alternative dispute resolution," or ADR, and provides the parties to a dispute with a structured process for attempting to come to an agreement. The hallmark of mediation is the presence of an impartial mediator who conducts the mediation process. In "facilitative mediation," the mediator merely assists the parties to resolve their differences on their own without having the mediator express his or her views on the issues or the resolution of those issues. If the parties have agreed to "evaluative mediation," the mediator will express opinions to the parties on what might be a fair or reasonable resolution. In either type of mediation, the mediator serves as a referee and guide to establish and maintain a structure for discussion of the issues and uses various techniques for opening or improving dialogue between the parties. Differing from ordinary negotiations, mediation has a specific structure, timetable, and dynamic that facilitates dialogue. The mediator is completely impartial, and the facts of the mediation are completely private and confidential. If mediation is unsuccessful, and if litigation over the disputes is required, the particulars of the mediation are not presented to the court.

As one might suspect, the likelihood of success in mediation depends on the skills and experience of the mediator. The attorneys at Boersma Law Firm have studied mediation techniques extensively and have participated in numerous mediations. Whether you need an attorney to assist you in the mediation process or whether you are looking for an impartial mediator, Boersma Law Firm cab help.

more info

energy law photo

Energy Law

For most of Oklahoma's history, energy law meant only oil and gas law, because those were the primary energy sources found in our state. Now, however, as the demand for new types of energy have grown, so too has the area of energy law. Lawyers in Oklahoma, as in other states, must now be ready to assist clients with issues relating to wind energy, biofuels, and other renewable sources of energy production. Since our nation has committed itself to diversification in energy sources, Boersma Law stands ready to address clients' needs in all those areas.

more info

family law photo

Family & Domestic Law

Family Law deals with family-related issues such as marriage and matters that arise from the marital relationship, including divorce, separate maintenance, child support, child custody, visitation, property settlement, alimony, and paternity. Additionally, family law also deals with adoption and guardianships. As anyone would expect, all these matters are almost always highly emotional and require not only competent legal representation but also empathetic and understanding emotional support for those involved in the legal process. The attorneys at Boersma Law Firm offer both. With a bachelor's degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University, Jennifer Reese Brock is not only well-suited to handling the legal needs of her clients, but is also adept at helping clients deal with the emotional highs and lows that are inherent in family and domestic matters.

more info

real estate photo

Real Estate Law

In the Blackwell area, the most common real estate transaction is the sale/purchase of a residential property. For most people, buying or selling residential real property constitutes a singularly important financial event -- and, too often, it is one that many buyers or sellers entrust to people not trained to understand and anticipate the problems and dangers of a real property transaction. Yes, the law of real property is complicated, and, yes, those complications can be frustrating at times. But with the help of one of the real property experts at Boersma Law Firm, you can rest assured that your purchase or sale will be handled professionally and proficiently.  In addition to residential sales and purchases, Boersma Law Firm also handles commercial real estate transactions, issues with rental properties, and foreclosure of mortgages.

more info

boersma law areas of practice

Additional Information:

The simplest estate plan consists of three documents: a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney, and an Advance Directive for Healthcare. The Will is your direction as to the distribution of your assets at your death -- the "who gets what" document. In addition to setting out a distribution scheme, the Will also allows you to appoint a Personal Representative who will manage the estate while it is being administered in court. For young parents, the Will is also the document that contains the directions for who will care for your minor children and who will manage the property and assets you leave to those children. The Durable Power of Attorney is your appointment of an attorney-in-fact to handle your affairs if you are alive but unable to take care of your affairs on your own. The Durable Power of Attorney allows the attorney-in-fact to take for you any action that you could take for yourself, including the decision to seek medical attention. Lastly, the Advance Directive for Healthcare is your statement to your family, your medical providers, and the world that you do not want to be kept alive by artificial means -- the Advance Directive is an end-of-life document. In the Advance Directive, you can appoint a Healthcare Proxy who will enforce your wishes with your medical providers when the time comes.

What happens if you do not make a Will or Power of Attorney? For persons who do not have a Will, Oklahoma law determines who will inherit your estate. This statutory distribution plan is called "intestate succession," and these laws give your estate to the surviving spouse and children first. Your surviving spouse's share of assets depends on whether your surviving spouse is the parent of your surviving children and whether the property you leave was acquired during marriage, prior to marriage, or through gift or inheritance.

When a person is unable to handle his or her own affairs, and does not have a Power of Attorney in place, the only option available to the family is to go to court to have a guardianship established. Not only are guardianships created by the court, they are overseen by the court, and the guardian must make annual reports to the court for as long as the guardianship remains in place.

A guardianship is not the only time that court proceedings come into play. Although a Will states your wishes as to distribution of your assets, it is not effective unless it is administered by a court. The process for court administration of a Will is called probate. While probate is not often complicated, it is a slow process in Oklahoma, with even the simplest probate taking six to eight months to complete. During this time, your heirs have only limited access to your estate (and only upon court approval), which can sometimes create problems.

Probate can be avoided by establishing a Revocable Living Trust. This trust holds title to all your assets and remains in existence even after the death of the creator of the trust. In a trust instrument, you set out how your property and assets are to be distributed and you appoint one or more persons to serve as Trustee. In most cases, the distribution of assets to your heirs can take place in a matter of weeks. Creating a trust requires the investment of some time because the attorney must be certain that all your assets are owned by the trust. Real property must be deeded to the trust, bank accounts and investment accounts must be changed to show that the trust is the owner, and insurance policies and retirement accounts must be amended to list the trust as beneficiary. But it is only by having your assets held by a trust that allows for the avoidance of probate.

return to top

For most of the 20th century, the basic corporation was the most used vehicle for business ventures. In the latter part of the century, however, new forms of legal entities were enacted by state legislatures and became increasing popular, such as Limited Liability Companies. But even with the newer entities, the basic benefit remains the same -- protection of personal assets from business liability.

In a regular corporation, one or more persons form the corporation by filing incorporation documents with the Secretary of State of Oklahoma. Those persons are called the "incorporators," and they hold the authority of the corporation until they take action to place that corporate authority in the hands of the shareholders and directors. Shareholders are the actual owners of the corporation, such ownership being represented by shares of stock, and the shareholders elect the board of directors. Directors set operational policies and procedures and elect officers who oversee the daily operation of the corporation.

For limited liability companies, the initial process is the same; the interested persons file documents with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. In limited liability companies, however, the owners are called the members and their ownership interest is set out in an Operating Agreement. That agreement also governs how the company will be managed and by whom. Limited liability companies can be member-managed or the members can appoint a manager.

return to top

The parties to a mediation do not give up any legal rights, but, rather, agree to try mediation as a means for resolving a dispute. If that attempt is unsuccessful, the parties still have the right to go to court for resolution of their differences. Nonetheless, mediation has many positive elements that make it an attractive route for dispute resolution.

First, mediation is much less expensive than full-blown court litigation. Yes, the parties still use attorneys, and, yes, the mediator charges a fee for his or her services, but the mediation process is much shorter than any court action. A court action can take months of preparation and many days or even weeks of actual court appearances, while mediation is usually accomplished in a matter of hours. Since the respective attorneys spend less time, the parties spend less money.

Second, and oftentimes more compelling than saving money, the parties retain control over the settlement of their differences. In litigation a judge or a jury will make a decision, and in many cases neither party is satisfied with the decision forced upon them. In mediation, however, the parties can fashion their own settlement, and oftentimes this settlement is one that a judge or jury cannot provide. Court resolutions must, by law, follow certain guidelines established by statute or by case law. But in mediation, the parties can consider resolutions that employ a flexibility and complexity not available in court. The result of a successful mediation, then, is a "win-win" for the parties.

Additionally, mediation is a completely confidential process. Court hearings are public events that anyone can attend, but mediation takes place in private, and what takes place in a mediation is known only to the parties and the mediator. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the particulars of the process are not disclosed in court, and in most cases the mediator cannot be forced to testify by either party.

Lastly, mediation is a mutual undertaking between the parties and usually signals a desire by both parties to resolve their disputes. Mediation offers a simple, informal, and flexible process for the parties to come to an agreement. While there is no set standard for conducting a mediation, the typical mediation allows each party to explain his or her position which, in turn, allows the mediator to define and clarify the issues. The mediator will strive to restrict the discussion to the identified issues without allowing either party to stray too far from those identified issues. The mediation also identifies the respective interests and objectives of the parties and possible options for settlement. Much of the process will focus on a discussion and analysis of those options and their effect on each party's rights. If the mediation is successful, the decisions of the parties will be set out in a written agreement signed by the parties. Once the parties have signed a settlement agreement, the agreement can be enforced through court action if necessary, but, in most cases, since the parties have reached their own agreement, they tend to comply with the agreement.

return to top

Certainly, oil and gas law still constitutes the bulk of the issues we face with clients. The leasing of minerals, production from wells, the plugging of wells, and the restoration of surface areas are the areas we address most often. And with over thirty (30) years' experience in oil and gas law, the attorneys at Boersma Law Firm are more than able to help clients navigate the oftentimes confusing intricacies of oil and gas law. For exploration and production clients, we have the same level of experience with drilling title opinions, division order title opinions, assignments of interests, farm-in and farm-out agreements, and other legal matters pertaining the exploration and production of oil and gas.

More and more, however, we also find that clients are facing decisions in the newly emerging fields of wind energy and biofuel energy, especially given the natural geography of Oklahoma and the fertile soil we have for the growing of biofuel crops. While these areas of the law are rapidly changing and are, as yet, rather unsettled, many of the same principles that apply to oil and gas law also apply to renewable energy law. By applying the expertise of our oil and gas experience, coupled with a clear understanding of newly adopted laws and regulations, the attorneys at Boersma Law Firm can provide needed guidance and advice for clients who are moving into these new, and exciting, areas of renewable energy.

return to top

Divorce is the termination of the marital relationship and all the duties and obligations that accompany that relationship. In Oklahoma divorce requires a court process with at least one of the parties appearing before a judge to testify that the marriage needs to end. In the court process, the property of the parties will be divided, the custody of, and visitation with, children will be decided, and the support of the children, and possibly of one of the spouses, will be settled. It is these issues -- property division, child custody, and child or spousal support -- where the difficulties and acrimony of a divorce proceeding arise. Oklahoma is a "no fault" divorce state, so there is no need to prove a reason why the marriage should end. "Irreconcilable differences" is the standard claim, and there is no proof of that required beyond one party's statement that the natural aims of a marriage are no longer possible. Nonetheless, even in a no-fault divorce there can be numerous issues to be resolved that are both legally complex and emotionally fraught.

Despite the stereotypical depiction of divorce, child custody, and child support as war-like in its intensity, the modern trend is shifting to more cooperative types of dispute resolution such as mediation and collaborative divorce. In simple cases where the parties can agree on the settlement of issues, one party can waive his or her right to appear in court, and the other party can proceed with the divorce quickly. If there are no minor children involved, if the parties truly have agreed upon all the issues, and if the court waives the statutory waiting period, a couple can file for divorce early in a week and have the divorce decree in hand by week's end. But to be honest, that particular scenario is rare. Usually, there are issues that the couple cannot agree upon and that required outside assistance.

Of course, the court is the most common source of outside assistance in making decisions. Yet more and more couples are opting to retain greater control over the process and the decisions by agreeing to collaborative or mediated divorces.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties enter into a voluntary agreement to proceed outside the court system. Their attorneys continue to represent each spouse during the collaborative process, but the attorneys must agree that they will not represent their respective client's in future family related litigation. The collaborative divorce process allows the divorcing parties to avoid the uncertain outcome of a court-litigated proceeding and to arrive at an outcome that is tailored to the specific needs of the family. Because the parties are more involved in the decision-making process and because the attorneys are facilitators rather than litigators, the process is usually faster than, and much less expensive than, the typical, litigated divorce.

Mediation is another voluntary process in which the parties to a divorce action can participate in an effort to resolve differences. In mediation, the parties agree to meet with a third party mediator to discuss the issues involved in the case. The parties may have their attorneys present, but many mediators choose to meet with the parties alone for at least a portion of the session. The mediator has no authority to force the parties to accept his or her recommendations, and the mediator's opinions and recommendations are not presented to the court. If mediation is unsuccessful, the parties will continue to court litigation with their respective attorneys.

Applying the experience of the more adversarial process to the newer methods, while studying the evolving laws and regulations for these newer methods, the attorneys at Boersma Law Firm are ready and able to assist their clients with the process that best serves the needs of that client.

return to top

Most often a real estate deal starts with a contract of sale saying who is selling, who is buying, and what is being sold and bought. The contract sets the price of the sale, and it controls which party bears which expenses. The first, and often the largest, expense is for abstracting. Oklahoma continues to use abstracts as the basis for determining ownership of property, even when title insurance is purchased. Prior to the closing of the sale, an abstract must be created or re-certified so that it can be examined by an attorney who then prepares a title opinion. This opinion sets out who holds title to the property and whether there are defects in that title. The tittle opinion also lists all liens and mortgages and other encumbrances that are outstanding against the property. Because the title opinion shows problems with the status of ownership, it is a vitally important step for any buyer, and it is almost always required if the buyer is financing the purchase through a financial institution.

Once the abstract has been reviewed and the title issues resolved, the sale is ready to be closed. Usually a closing is handled through a closing agent who prepares documents for the transaction, including a settlement statement to show all the expenses each party is paying. The settlement statement also shows how much money the buyer needs to bring to the closing and how much money the seller will receive.

The attorneys at Boersma Law Firm often serve as closing agents for real property transactions, handling sales totaling more than $1.5 Million in each of the last ten (10) years. Each sale, regardless of price, receives the same time and attention to detail to ensure that the client's needs are met and that all issues are resolved.

return to top

 

Connections

Contact:

Kirk R. Boersma
Jennifer Reese Brock
Boersma Law Firm
lawoffice@boersmalaw.com
Address: 111 W Blackwell
Blackwell, OK  74631
Phone: 580.363.3323
Toll Free:  888.726.4334
Fax: 580.363.3393

Boersma Law Firm is a small firm that provides experienced legal services in diversified areas of practice. In business in Blackwell, Oklahoma, since 1997, Boersma Law Firm specializes in a wide variety of legal matters: real estate transactions for either the seller or the buyer; estate planning, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and living wills; probate or administration of estates; oil and gas law; corporate law for both for-profit and non-profit entities; family and domestic law, including divorce, separate maintenance, paternity, child custody, child support, and visitation; adoption and guardianships; family dispute mediation; and general business law.