For individuals who are trying to manage the difficult emotions that can arise after the loss of a loved one, the probate process can prove to be particularly challenging. There are many tasks that must be performed during probate including creating an inventory of assets and resolving any debt issues. Fortunately, a skilled estate planning attorney can help with all aspects of the probate process.

The Time Involved in the Probate Process

One of the major obstacles created by the probate process in the state of Oklahoma is that the process frequently takes a long time to conclude. During the probate process, beneficiaries are unable to access any assets that were left by the deceased individual. The average estate takes over a year to conclude and for assets to be received by beneficiaries. This time span can be particularly frustrating to individuals who want the process to conclude more quickly.

Steps in the Probate Process

The probate process requires several important steps, which include the following:

  • Creditors are notified about the person’s death.
  • Executors or personal representatives are informed about when to distribute assets to beneficiaries.
  • Legal actions might need to be taken regarding probation litigation of the deceased individual’s estate.
  • Assets are sold to pay debts owed by the person who died.

The Duties of a Personal Representative During Probate

Many individuals designate a personal representative in their last will and testament. If this individual is not named, however, the probate court must designate who will act as a personal representative to oversee the process. These representatives are charged with several responsibilities, which include the following:

  • Deciding who the beneficiaries of the estate plan are and ultimately transferring assets to them.
  • Filing a petition for the probate process.
  • Notifying banks, beneficiaries, and government agencies.
  • Paying any creditors to whom the deceased individual owes debts.
  • Receiving the assets of the deceased individual. 

Probate Laws in the State of Oklahoma

If a person does not create an effective will or trust to handle their assets upon their death, intestacy laws in the state of Oklahoma establish a succession plan of how assets are passed down. These laws specify which beneficiaries will receive what property and how much.

The Right of Spouses in Oklahoma Probate

In accordance with probate law in the state of Oklahoma, if a deceased person is survived only by a spouse then all of that person’s estate goes to the spouse. If a deceased person is survived by a spouse and children, then the spouse receives half of the deceased person’s entire estate and the deceased person’s children receive half of the estate. This is just one of the important and complicated laws that dictate how the probate process in the state of Oklahoma works.

Let an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Assist You

If you have any questions about the probate process or need assistance navigating this issue, contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney like Jim A Lyon today.