There are some distinct advantages to creating a trust or will in the state of Oklahoma. These estate planning tools let individuals decide who receives the assets of a deceased individual. If a person does not have a will, courts in the state of Oklahoma will divide property in accordance with established law. During this process, courts will assess the value of the deceased person’s assets. The probate process can prove to be time consuming and complicated, which can make the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney particularly valuable. This article will outline the major steps that comprise the probate process in Oklahoma.

The Filing of a Petition

This marks the first step in the probate process. If a person has written a will, this document will be filed in addition to the petition which requests that the will be recognized as a controlling legal document. Not only must the deceased individual’s will meet certain requirements to be considered a lawful document, but the will must have also been the most recent such document prepared by the individual.

Notice to Your Heirs at Law

Prior to a hearing about how a person’s estate should be divided, notice must be provided to a person’s heirs, who by law are able to inherit a deceased individual’s estate if the person died without a will. These laws are referred to as terms of secession.

Appointment of a Personal Representative

After a will is heard, and provided that the will is accepted by the court as valid, the court will then proceed to appoint a personal representative who can be either a person selected by the court or someone named in the will.

Notice to Creditors

Courts require an inventory of a person’s estate in addition to publication of a notice to creditors, which is designed to protect the rights of creditors who might have lawful right to collect from a person’s assets. These creditors must be paid before any distributions can made to a person’s heirs. After receiving the notice, creditors usually have 60 days in which to file any claims against a person’s estate.

Filing Estate Allowances and Tax Returns

After a proper period of time has been given to let creditors collect on a debt, an estate tax return will be filed, provided that the estate is large enough to require this documentation. Around this time, allowances will also be paid to the minor children or surviving spouse of the deceased individual. These allowances are intended to help these individuals throughout the administration of the estate process.

Distribution of Assets

Once all previously mentioned steps have been taken, disbursement of the remaining assets in the estate can begin. During this period, personal representatives ask the court to make a distribution and then provide the court with documentations to show that assets have been received by all involved parties.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Probate Lawyer

To obtain additional information about the administration of an estate, obtain the assistance of a skilled Oklahoma attorney like Jim A. Lyon. Attorney Lyon has helped many individuals navigate the estate administration process to achieve their goals.