The potential for probate litigation in Oklahoma should inform the type of state planning you engage in. Going through probate court can be intimidating. Probate is the process your loved ones must go through to access your assets after your death. It is a court process where an induvial is appointed to locate all the assets of your estate and follow the judge’s orders on where or to whom they must go. This process can be relatively straightforward and provide peace and closure to your family, or the process can be complex and painstaking if a dispute arises.
When disputes arise, that is when probate litigation in Oklahoma comes into play; probate litigation is the process of solving the disputes that arise in probate court. Sometimes these disputes can be solved peacefully and amicably, while other times, it may take an extended time.
What Is an Oklahoma Probate?
To understand probate litigation, it is first essential to understand what it is and how it works. In Oklahoma, probate is the process in which a representative of your estate appears before a judge to determine who receives your assets if you pass away without an estate plan. Probate court may also refer to other types of cases involving aging, disability, or death. For example, if someone needs a court-appointed guardian or conservator, this would also be handed in probate court.
Throughout the probate process, those closest in relation to you, as determined by the legislature and laws, will get notice of where the judge intends the assets to go. If everyone agrees, the assets will go where the judge feels it is the correct place; if individuals disagree, they may have the right to file motions and contest what the judge has determined. In these cases, we have what is known as probate litigation.
Many attorneys refer to probate litigation as family feuds that cause delays in the probate process. Usually, probate litigation involves fighting within the family, but that is not always the case. There are also probate litigation cases that involve families trying to protect a loved one from being financially exploited by a caregiver or other individual, such as a financial planner or salesperson. In these cases, the court is acting as a mediator, hearing both sides of the argument to ensure the individual or their estate, if they have already passed, is protected.
We usually look out for a few signs to determine if probate litigation will likely occur. These factors include:
- History of family and sibling conflicts and disputes
- Multiple marriages with varying ages of children
- Deliberately excluding some family members from inheriting
- Leaving gifts to unexpected sources
- Failing to choose a trustworthy individual as personal representative or conservator
Examples Of Probate Litigation
Probate litigation can be very different for each unique case. Depending on the facts of the matter and the specific scenarios, different issues and claims may come into play. This list is an example of some types of claims that may be litigated through the probate litigation process.
- Determining the validity of a trust or will
- Appointing a or removing personal representative
- Allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty
- Disputing a will or trust
- Determining incapacity
- Appointing a guardian or conservator
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Oklahoma Probate Attorneys Near You
Our Tulsa attorneys will help you determine if you are likely to go through probate litigation with a loved one or their estate. If you are stuck with disagreements or challenging people to deal with, let us help you from the start. Dealing with them without proper legal counsel may make things worse. Call our estate planning offices at 918-743-2233 or visit us online to schedule your consultation