Oklahoma Probate Practice
What is Probate Under Oklahoma Law?
Probate is the legal process used to determine a deceased persons assets, the value of those assets, and then to distribute the assets to the deceased persons heirs. This is known as probating an estate.
Probate usually takes place in the county where the deceased person lived, subject to a couple of exceptions. Oklahoma Probate law attempts to protect all parties who have an interest in the estate.
Do I Need an Attorney for the Probate Process in Oklahoma?
Probate in Oklahoma can be a long and cumbersome process. Even simple estates can take anywhere from six to 12 months to reach completion. Probating an estate can entail a fair amount of work, often complex, and especially so if you are not already familiar with the laws pertaining to probate.
Copeland Law can help make the probate of a loved one proceed as smoothly as possible.
If you think you might need assistance with probating an estate in Oklahoma, Contact Us today.
Why is Probate Necessary in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma Probate law exists to:
- Identify and collect the property and assets of the person who died;
- To protect the property and assets;
- To determine who is entitled to share in the distribution of the property and assets;
- To distribute the property to the correct persons; and
- To make sure title to real property is legally transferred to the correct party, maintaining a clear chain of title to the real property.
I’m the Personal Representative in a Probate. What Are My Duties?
The personal representative is the person who carries out the duties outlined in the above section. This person should be responsible, and can be almost anyone, ranging from a bank to a surviving spouse, child, sibling, etc.
A personal representative is appointed by the district court where the probate process is occurring. If the person who died had a will, and named a personal representative in that will, the court will usually appoint this person as personal representative. If the deceased person had no will, then the court will appoint someone based on the applicable probate law, often the closest living relative.
As the personal representative, you are responsible for:
- Identifying, taking possession of, protecting, and conserving all of the real and personal property owned by the person who died at their death (except for the homestead of the surviving spouse and children);
- Receiving and collecting all rents, payments, and debts due to the estate (including interest, dividends, claims, and notes);
- Determining the names, ages, residences, and degree of relationship of all possible heirs; and
- Determining and paying all outstanding debts (including taxes); and
- Carrying out the district courts orders in all matters before the court, and distributing the property of the estate to the property parties.
Carrying out these duties require: preparing and filing numerous legal documents; publishing certain notices in a newspaper; attending district court hearings; securing appraisals of property; preparing interim and final income tax returns, and any required gift and estate tax returns; providing an accounting of funds; making actual distribution of the property; and receiving the final discharged of the personal representative by the district court.
Sometimes these duties can seem overwhelming. Copeland Law can help guide you through the process. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.