Oklahoma Probate Explained

When a person dies, it may be necessary to administer their estate in order that their assets may be properly distributed to their beneficiaries. This process is called Probate, if the deceased died with a Last Will and Testament or is referred to as an Administration if the deceased died intestate (without a Will). During the probate/administration process, the Personal Representative of the Estate shall be responsible for payment of any creditors of the estate, inventorying the assets of the deceased, alerting the heirs and devisees of the proceedings, and paying any final income or estate taxes owed by the estate. This process can be long and complex and it is essential that you employ an attorney well versed in the intricacies of probate law to help you through.   

If my loved one has a Will, their estate avoids probate, right?

Not quite! A strong estate plan, which includes a Will, definitely makes the probate process easier. It provides instructions as to whom the assets should be distributed and how they should be used. However, under Oklahoma law, assets cannot be distributed until they have passed through probate.

Estate planning tools such as trusts can help assets avoid probate. Contact us today to speak with us about how we can help you.

If there wasn’t a Will, who gets the deceased person’s assets once probate is complete?

If there was not a Will in place expressing the deceased person’s wishes as to who should inherit the assets of the deceased, their estate will be passed by intestate succession. This means that assets will go to the next of kin. If there are two or more equally close relatives, the estate would be split between them, equally. The laws governing intestate succession aim to be as fair as possible, but they can’t account for the unique relationships in every family.

Who takes care of all the logistics in probate, such as paying creditors and selling property if necessary?

This is the responsibility of the personal representative. The personal representative may be named in the Will or may come forward voluntarily at the beginning of the probate process. In Oklahoma, the personal representative can be paid a fee, the size of which depends on the size of the estate.

What does an attorney do during probate?

An attorney can help the personal representative navigate necessary paperwork and requirements that come along with their role. This is important because the personal representative can face major repercussions if he or she fails to act in the best interest of the estate and interested parties, which may be challenging!

If you need help with Oklahoma probate the Robertson & Williams team is here for you. We are committed to providing our clients with personal attention so that they can achieve excellent results. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call at (405) 848-1944. 

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