What Is A Final Accounting In Oklahoma Probate

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The final accounting In Oklahoma probate case can be said to be the beginning of the end of the case. From its begging to its end a the probate process is very technical in the order and format the pleadings in the case are filed. The process and the way things go is also impacted by the size of the Estate and the family members relationship to each other.

The amount of creditors and the liquidity of the Estate also play an important part. In Oklahoma, as a final step in the probate process, a personal representative must file a petition, set a hearing date, and go before the probate judge to officially close a probate case. After the hearing is complete, the probate judge will sign an order. In this order, the probate judge will provide the personal representative with directions concerning the distribution of property to the heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased.

What’s Next in The Probate Process

After a personal representative or the executor files a petition for a final accounting, they are also required to send notice of the hearing. This notice of hearing must be sent to all of the individuals who are or may be interested in the case. This means that all heirs, devisees, and legatees must receive notice of the final hearing. This process ensures that interested parties can be present at the hearing if they want to make a statement to the judge. Its important that notices to interested people are posted in a legal periodical as well as sent directly to known parties. Its equally important that the notice goes out in a timely manner. If it doesn’t the notice must be re-issued before the final accounting in Oklahoma probate can move forward.

In certain probate processes, such as a summary administration, where the value of the estate is less than $150,000, a personal representative may be able to combine the final accounting hearing with the notice to creditors. After this point, creditors of the estate only have thirty days to respond to the notice.

Order Of Payment To Potential Creditors

While working through the probate process, certain bills must be paid in a specific order. Before a personal representative can file a petition for the final accounting, they must ensure that these bills are paid. These bills must be paid in this order:

  1. Funeral expenses
  2. Hospital bills related to the end-of-life conditions of the deceased
  3. Certain distributions to support the family
  4. Taxes
  5. Certain debts
  6. Outstanding judgments
  7. Additional interest

Prior to the executor or personal representative deciding on an order of payment they must decide if the claim is valid. If the claim isn’t valid the personal representative can deny the claim and the creditor will be forced to set it for a hearing. Once a representative determines whether such payments should be made, they’ll then need to determine whether there are enough liquid assets in the estate to pay these bills. Liquid assets are often comprised of checking or savings accounts and other assets that don’t need to be sold to have immediate value. If there are not enough liquid assets in the estate, a personal representative must ask the court’s permission to sell some of the deceased’s assets to pay these priority debts.

What Is The Purpose Of Final Accounting in Oklahoma Probate

A final accounting is required in Oklahoma probate cases to ensure that the personal representative has done their job and acted according to the state’s laws. This hearing also helps to ensure that the heirs and individuals who were supposed to receive money from the estate ultimately receive their share.

Once the hearing is finished, the judge will sign a decree of distribution. The decree of distribution will provide the personal representative with directions concerning how assets should be divided. Depending on whether the deceased individual had a will, the assets will be either divided according to the will or via intestate succession according to the law. In either instance, a final accounting will ensure that the proper individuals have notice of the hearing and are given the opportunity to raise concerns before assets are distributed.  

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Oklahoma Probate Attorney Near You

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult enough without having to consider the legal steps involved. Even in those cases where the relative or friend left a valid will and specific instructions on distributing assets estate the process is still very technical. If you are navigating the estate of a loved one, our experienced Tulsa probate attorneys can assist and guide you through the probate process. As a personal representative, you may need support, and we’re here to help. Call Kania Law Office at 918-743-2233 or visit us online for assistance. We look forward to speaking with you.

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