The word “probate” means an individual who proves or validates something. In the case of probating a will, a court of law will prove that a will is authentic and provides a true representation of a deceased individual’s intention. Even if a last will and testament represents a person’s interests, the state of Oklahoma requires it to meet several standards including proceeding through the probate process. The case will be initiated in the county where the deceased individual lived.

The Reason Why Wills Must be Probated

Wills must be probated to prevent fraudulent activity as well as to protect individuals who stand to gain assets through the will. Courts are concerned in some cases that a will might be a forgery, fraudulent, or written because someone unfairly exerted control over another. Additionally, in some cases courts might be uncertain whether a version of a will is the most recent form written by an individual. In some cases during the probate process, a court might decide that some provisions of the will are invalid.

The Elements of the Probate Process

During probate, courts appoint an administrator who makes decisions about issues that might arise regarding the administration of a person’s estate. This individual can be either named in a will or selected by a court. Probate courts also oversee other important parts of the administration of a person’s will, including giving interested parties the opportunity to dispute elements in the will.

Advice for Individuals in Preparing for the Probate Process

There are some important pieces of advice that individuals should follow in preparing for the probate process, which includes the following:

  • How to Respond if the Will Cannot be Found or is Destroyed: If a person is unable to find a will or the will is not intact, a knowledgeable estate planning attorney should be contacted as soon as possible.
  • Probate as Soon as Possible: Wills should be probated as soon as possible after an individual’s death to avoid any potential penalties that might arise alleging that the person attempted to intentionally conceal or destroy the will.
  • Understand What to Do if the Deceased Individual Did Not Leave a Will: A person who passes away without a will is considered to have died “intestate.” In these cases, a court of law will appoint an administrator who will carry out distribution of the deceased individual’s assets.

How a Probate Lawyer can Help You

Because the probate process involves a complicated body of laws, it is always a wise idea to obtain the assistance of a skilled attorney. To make sure that you successfully navigate the probate process, it is a wise idea to obtain the assistance of a seasoned estate planning attorney. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can make sure that your best interests are taken into consideration during probate and help navigate any obstacles that might arise during the process. Strong legal representation will also help represent a person’s interests. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to discuss how attorney Lyon can help with your case.