How Does Estate Planning and Probate Work in Oklahoma?

Estate Planning and Probate

Estate planning and probate in Oklahoma is governed by state law statutes. Its designed to help people distribute their assets when they pass. As a society, we respect the wishes of the deceased. As a result, the law requires us to engage in the probate process when a friend or family member passes away. During this process, someone is appointed to act as the deceased’s personal representative. Further duties of a personal representative include paying the expenses, debts, and taxes of the estate and ensuring that the decedent’s property is distributed as intended to legatees, heirs, and any other rightful parties in interest. An Oklahoma district court will assume jurisdiction over an estate and supervise the entire process.  

What Is Estate Planning Probate?

Probate is a court-supervised procedure that authenticates a will and approves your named executor to distribute your property as intended. The process requires a decedent’s assets to be collected and assessed for value before distribution to a person’s legatees (if the person died with a will) or heirs (if the person died without a will).

What is Estate Planning in Oklahoma

Estate planning and probate mean different things to different people. The reason is that what people want to accomplish with their assets when they pass depends on their particular circumstances. One factor depends on the assets they hold and the number of heirs they have. Some people want to avoid probate while others don’t really mind the process. Still others have assets that they don’t want made public and want to avoid arguments over those same assets. One way a person avoids the probate process is by creating probate avoidance tools. This is done in their estate planning and involves making a trust to hold their assets. Another way people avoid probate is by designating a specific beneficiary in insurance policies or bank accounts.

The Probate Process In Oklahoma

Upon the death of an individual, Oklahoma law provides the legal process that assumes control of the deceased’s probable assets, assesses their value, pays creditors, and distributes the assets to the rightful parties in interest. Such procedures and how long they take are done in the district court of the county where the deceased property owner lived.

What If There Is No Will?

When a person leaves a will upon their death, the law considers them to have died testate. When a person dies without drafting a will, they die intestateOklahoma intestacy law decides how the decedent’s assets will be distributed in the absence of a valid will. It is important to note that probate must still occur even if the decedent did not leave a will. A Petition must be filed in the county where the decedent was a resident at the time of their death. The court will then appoint an executor to administer the estate.

What Property Is Subject To Probate?

Not all of a decedent’s property is subject to probate. Property may be classified as either probate or non-probate property. Probate property typically includes any property owned in the decedent’s name alone that does not have a named beneficiary. Examples include real estate and solely owned bank accounts or securities accounts. Oklahoma law requires that probate propertygoes through probate court.

Examples of non-probate property include property held in a trust, life insurance, retirement accounts, pay-on-death (POD) bank accounts, transfer-on-death (TOD) securities accounts, and property held in joint tenancy. Oklahoma law does not require a non-probate asset to go through probate court.

Why Is Probate Necessary?

The probate of an estate is necessary for the following reasons:

  • to identify and take control of the probate property to protect it for future distribution
  • to pay the expenses, debts, and taxes of the estate
  • to determine who is legally entitled to receive any share in or property of the estate
  • to distribute the property of the estate to the proper parties

When the property of the estate includes real property and other record ownership property, probate provides a mechanism for transferring title to the property and maintaining a clear chain of title to the property.

Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys Near You

Estate planning and probate can be a daunting and confusing procedure. This, combined with the stress and emotion related to losing a loved one, can make an already complicated process even more difficult. The attorneys at Kania Law Office are experienced in helping families move through the estate planning and probate process as seamlessly as possible. For more information about how our Oklahoma probate lawyers can help you call (918) 743-2233  or contact us online.

Tulsa's Local Lawyers

Law ScaleAre you looking for Tulsa attorneys who will fight aggressively for you? Our team of attorneys have the experience needed in Oklahoma law to secure the outcome you deserve.

Call us today for a free consultation 918-743-2233 or contact us online.