What if Someone Dies with No Will in Oklahoma?

Dies with no will

When someone in Oklahoma dies with no will, state laws are in charge of distributing their belongings. This process is known as intestate succession. It can be complex and confusing, and understanding the different steps that occur can help you make informed decisions about your own estate planning or that of a loved one. This article will explain more about the process and important things to keep in mind.

Intestate Succession Overview

If someone dies with no will in Oklahoma, the state has set instructions on how to divide the persons assets. This is based on your family structure at the time of your death. For instance, your spouse may receive all or most of your assets. However, if you have children, siblings, or some other types of close relatives, this process can change and no longer be as simple. For those with a will, they dictate who items should go to instead of the state make decisions for them.

Distribution of Assets

When someone in Oklahoma dies with no will, the following scheme applies:

  • Spouse and Children: In the case of a surviving spouse and children, the estate is spread among them. The spouse gets one-third if there are multiple children, or half if there is only one child. The children equally split the remainder.
  • Spouse and No Direct Descendants: If there are no children but the deceased has a surviving spouse, the spouse inherits everything unless there are surviving parents or siblings.
  • No Spouse or Children: If there are no spouse or children, the estate goes to the parents. If there are no living parents, items go to siblings and their descendants.
  • Extended Family: When immediate family is not available, items are given further out to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
  • State Claims Estate: If no relatives are located, the estate will eventually escheat. This is when it reverts to the state and begins to support public schools.

After assets are given to the designee(s), they can do with these items as they wish. This can cause conflicts within families that are preventable through the creation of a will.

Probate Court and Its Involvement

When there is no will involved, the process goes through probate court. This court will oversee distribution of your estate to make sure that all actions align with state laws. A major part of this process is the appointment of an administrator to manage and settle your estate. This person is responsible for various tasks of the estate including paying off debts and distributing assets to heirs.

Different Types of Assets

Not every asset is automatically put through probate. Even if someone dies with no will, there are still particular assets with guaranteed beneficiaries. Assets like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and jointly owned property may pass directly to a named beneficiary instead of going through probate. It’s important to understand which assets you have that would fall under intestate succession laws and which would not.

Common Problems

If someone dies with no will, it usually leads to some complications which have the ability to lengthen the probate process. Disputes among family members about items can arise, moreso if relationships within the family are already distant. Additionally, courts must rely solely on state laws. During an already difficult time, loved ones can suffer more from extensive legal complications. This can be particularly tough on families with children or other dependents that relied on the person.

Personal Items

Another common issue when there is no will is the distribution process of personal items. These items might not have monetary value but can hold great sentimental value for loved ones. While it’s hard to think about, a will can prevent complications and make sure your assets go to specific people. A will allows you to specify who you wish to receive your belonging, list the guardians for your children, and other necessary actions.

Tulsa Probate Attorney

In Oklahoma, dying with no will causes your estate to fall under state laws instead of your wishes. This can lead to additional difficulties, both emotional and legal, for your family. To avoid these issues, consider creating a will that reflects your wishes and provides clear instructions for the handling of your estate. Our Estate Planning and probate attorneys practice in most counties throughout Oklahoma. Call today and get a free and confidential consultation with one of the Tulsa probate attorneys at Kania Law Office at 918-743-2233 or click here to ask a free online question.

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