What is Probate in Oklahoma?
When your loved one passes away, the process of handling the assets and debts of your loved one begins with Probate. Probate is the process by which a deceased person's estate is divided, bills paid and distributed to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This process is started by a qualified person being made the executor or administrator of the estate. In cases in which there is a will, this person is named to serve as the executor.
THESE ISSUES CAN BE COMPLEX AND CONFUSING DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME. Let the attorneys at LaCourse Law help you navigate these important matters with you.
In Cases With No Will:
Any individual who is related to the decedent may petition the court to be the administrator of the estate. It is not uncommon that there may be more than one person who petitions to be the administrator. In those cases, the court must determine between the petitioning parties who should serve in that capacity.
The executor or administrator must provide to the court an accounting to list all of the assets which the decedent had at death and who the heirs or beneficiaries are. In a case where the decedent had a will, the executor makes distributions of the assets to the named beneficiaries and provides an account to the court as to what was distributed and to whom. In a case without a will, the administrator must distribute the assets to those individuals who would receive as heirs according to the law of the State of Oklahoma.
The administrator cannot make any distributions contrary to the statutes without written direction through a valid will prepared by the decedent. Sometimes the only way for the assets to be divided properly is to sell some of the assets and then divide the proceeds between the heirs and beneficiaries.
Also, an heir or other interested party may seek to challenge a will that has been presented through probate. It may be that the document is fraudulent or has been tampered with. It may also be that it was created by the decedent while under undue influence by another party. Such action will seek to preserve the assets from waste or distribution until such time that the decedent's wishes if there were any, can be determined.
Help with Estate Administration
When residents of Oklahoma die leaving a last will and testament expressing their wishes for asset distribution and settling of their financial affairs, the will they leave behind must be submitted to the District Court for probate. Probate is the process in Oklahoma that includes the following:
- Filing of the will with the clerk of the court
- Proving the authenticity of the document
- Authorizing the individual named in the document to act on behalf of the estate as the executor/ or personal representative.
The estate of a person dying without leaving a will must also be submitted to the court. Instead of appointing an executor, the court appoints an estate administrator to handle estate affairs.
Probate and estate administration are commenced with the filing of petitions with the court. The petition is usually filed by a relative and begins the process of court oversight of the handling of the distribution of assets, payment of debts and taxes, and other essential matters carried out by executors, trustees, and administrators.
If you need a law firm to quickly address your probate matter contact LaCourse Law. We have a track record of obtaining successful results for our clients. You do not need to endure the often difficult issues in probate. Call LaCourse Law today.