It is possible to contest a Will in Probate Court in Oklahoma. Its best that you do the will contest as soon as possible while all the evidence is fresh. There are several basis for a will contest from the will not meeting statutory requirements down to out right fraud. The contest is filed in the Court where the probate is filed. It is filed in this court because that’s where jurisdiction is proper. Prior to initiating the process of contesting an Oklahoma Will, you should address a few preliminary considerations in consultation with your lawyer. An experienced Estate Planning attorneys will guide you on the process and the strength of your case.
Legal Standing to Challenge the Will
In Oklahoma, the first step you must take while planning to contest a Will is to determine whether you have a legal standing to start the contest. In order words, you must know whether you have a legal right to pursue the action of a Will contest. You need to be an “interested party” to initiate this action. In general, beneficiaries included in this Will, beneficiaries who were a part of an earlier Will, the estate’s legal heirs, and in some cases, a creditor may be considered interested parties.
Time Limits to File a Contest
Although there is no time limit to file a probate in Oklahoma contesting a will is another matter. When a will is admitted to probate the clock starts to run on objections to the will. If you are an heir or an interested party you will be given notice once the probate is filed. Generally you have three moths to contest the will but this time may be extended depending on your case. For this reason its important that you act as soon as you are given notice of the filing. .
Standing To File a Will Contest in Probate Court
Merely because you are dissatisfied with the contents of the Will (for example, if only a small or no inheritance was left to you) is not sufficient grounds to contest a Will in Oklahoma. You may have to allege one or more of the following grounds (and eventually prove them) that are listed under Oklahoma law:
A Will of later date has been discovered, and you can offer it.
· One or more jurisdictional facts is questionable in the probate
At the time the Will was prepared, the testator was not free from fraud, menace, duress, or undue influence or was not competent
The Will was not executed and attested according to the due process of law
Will Contest Litigation in Probate Court
Once the probate is filed and the will is submitted to the court your attorney will file a motion with the court challenging the will. The personal representative of the estate will defend the Will during the litigation process. Just like any other civil lawsuit, a Will contest involves discovery and possible settlement efforts to avoid a trial. If you are unable to arrive at a settlement with the other party, your case will go to trial. At this time, you must be able to prove in the probate court the grounds you believe render the Will invalid.
Contact a Tulsa Probate Lawyer Near You
What ever your Estate Planning needs are we can help. If you’ve got a will or a trust that you need prepared give us a call. Our Tulsa attorneys have experience in all matters related to probate court in Oklahoma. From complex will contests to probate administration we have you covered. For a free and confidential consultation call 918.743.2233 or fill out this online contact form.