Probate delays in Oklahoma are frustrating. Probate is the Court’s process to distribute a deceased person’s estate. The probate process can be a difficult time for families. Emotions are running high, money is involved, and everyone is on edge. This article will describe some of the most common probate disputes and how these disputes might delay the probate process so that you can be prepared.
Depending on the asset amount that needs to go through probate, how many beneficiaries there are, and if there are multiple properties across different states, the probate process can be drawn out and arduous for each case. Moreover, some common disputes may arise throughout the process, slowing down the process and even more so when proper estate planning has been ignored.
Three Common Probate Delays in Oklahoma
Sometimes, these issues take care of themselves. Other times, many families run into these problems when taking a loved one’s estate through probate.
- The Personal Representative Does Not Want To Act Or Breaches Their Duty
The personal representative is the person in charge of the deceased person’s estate. This person is usually named in the will or by the Court in the probate process. The personal representative does not have to act or may not be able to act if they develop a disability that makes them unable to fulfill their role. Sometimes, the personal representative can no longer act when they would be required to due to unforeseen circumstances. This situation is common when the deceased wrote a will but didn’t update it based on life changes. For example, the deceased died with less money or property than originally.
When the personal representative accepts the role, they have a fiduciary duty to carry out the deceased person’s last wishes. The process normally begins when they file probate letters of administration. The fiduciary duty is a legal obligation, which means if the personal representative fails to carry out the duty, the beneficiaries may be able to file a claim against the personal representative.
If the personal representative refuses or does not want to act, the probate court holds a hearing to appoint another personal representative. It may take a few months to have the hearing and appoint a new personal representative.
- Will Contests
Occasionally, individuals may create multiple wills or change their will many times. These changes are called codicils. An issue that may arise when there are multiple wills or codicils is knowing which will use after death. Sometimes it can be difficult to know who is supposed to receive what when many versions of wills are floating around. A skilled codicil lawyer can help you establish which version of the will is credible and accurate.
- Paying Creditors
Finally, during the probate process, the personal representative is responsible for paying any debts the deceased person may owe. These creditors are required to submit their final bills. Then the personal representative and beneficiaries have the right to challenge the amounts and make the creditor prove they are owed the amount shown on the final bill. This is especially important when large claims on the estate’s money exist.
Suppose multiple beneficiaries or creditors want to challenge how much they are owed or should be paid. In that case, it can cause multiple court proceedings and drag out the entire probate process. since the process cannot be completed until all creditors are paid, and the beneficiaries accept their amount.
Oklahoma Probate Attorneys Are Ready To Help You
Our exceptional probate lawyers want to help you and your family through the probate process. The attorneys at Kania Law Office are ready to help you streamline the process and ensure it goes smoothly. Call (918) 743-2233 today to schedule your appointment or contact us online.