oklahoma city probate attorney

Common Concerns of First Time Executors

Many people are not aware of the various responsibilities of an executor until they have been assigned to serve that role. The role of an executor often involves juggling various time demands as well as learning what the process entails. For executors who are uncertain about what their role entails, it is often a wise idea to speak with a knowledgeable probate attorney like Jim A Lyon, who has several decades of experience helping people navigate the executor process. It can also help to anticipate the various responsibilities of an executor, which is why this article will review some of the questions most commonly asked about the probate process. Do All Assets Proceed Through Probate? No. Not all assets proceed through the probate process. Some of the assets that rarely proceed through probate include assets held in trusts, retirement accounts, and property that is titled in certain ways. As a result, there some situations in which a person might not end up having to act as an executor. There are also some assets that an executor will not be tasked with overseeing. How Much is an Executor Personally Liable? During the probate process, an executor is held personally liable for     Read More

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Common Mistakes Made During the Probate Process

Many people have questions about the probate process. Some of the most common questions relate to appointing a fiduciary, when a fiduciary must begin performing his or her duties, and what will happen if a fiduciary does not act in accordance with someone’s wishes. As a result of these questions and many others, individuals often find the probate process to be overwhelming. To help individuals prepare for navigating the probate process, this article will discuss five of the most common mistakes that are made and how to avoid them. Not Maintaining a Piece of Property Some executors are unprepared for the significant responsibility that accompanies a house or large piece of land. Even though an executor might have the purest of intentions to make sure that a piece of property is adequately maintained, sometimes executors are overwhelmed and unprepared for such a responsibility. If the property is not adequately maintained, it may decline in value. The best way to avoid this mistake is to make sure that the executor understands the significant duties that come with temporarily holding property for a beneficiary. Not Keeping Adequate Records For executors, it is critical to make sure that all elements of the probate     Read More

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What Happens in Probate of a Will?

If a person has assets at the time of his or her death, these assets must pass through the probate process where the validity of the will is determined. In addition to avoiding fraud, there are several other important elements of the probate process. This article will describe several of the elements that occur during the probate process. Common Steps in the Probate Process Courts in Oklahoma tend to follow some frequent steps in the probate process, which include the following: Opening Probate. This process involves presenting a court of law with an original copy of the will along with a petition to commence the probate process. Assessments of Assets. A deceased person’s assets can include all personal and real property belonging to that person. Once all of the assets have been identified, the value of these assets must be assessed. Notification to Creditors. Creditors, or parties that the deceased individual owes money must be notified that the probate process is occurring. Litigation. If there is a dispute that exists about the value of a will, a court of law will resolve this dispute. Payment of Taxes. Before the deceased person’s assets can be distributed, the remaining assets must be     Read More

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What Does it Mean to Probate a Will?

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.     Read More

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Techniques for Avoiding Probate

When individuals die without having an adequate estate plan in place, their estates will proceed through the probate process. Probate has the disadvantage of sometimes lasting for a long period of time. Fortunately, there are some methods that individuals can use to avoid the probate process. A skilled attorney will be able to help an individual determine the various methods necessary to avoid the probate process. Designate Beneficiaries in Retirement Accounts There are some assets that a person has that will pass on after his or her death in accordance with terms other than those found in a will. Many other estate planning devices allow individuals to name beneficiaries, including retirement accounts. Despite the power of these documents, many individuals do not list beneficiaries for bank accounts or retirement plans. By making sure to designate beneficiaries for retirement accounts, individuals can make sure that these assets avoid the probate process. The biggest obstacle presented by this method is making sure that the proper beneficiaries are listed because these roles may sometimes change due to death, divorce, or other major life events. Gifting Avoids the Probate Process By giving away property prior to death, a person can avoid the probate process.     Read More

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Oklahoma Supreme Court Decides Portability Election Case

A “portability election” refers to the ability of a surviving spouse to claim the unused portion of the federal estate tax exemption for a deceased spouse and add this amount to the balance of the surviving spouse’s own exemption. In January of 2017, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided a case concerning a unique aspect about the amounts in portability elections. In the case of In re Estate of Vose, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s holding that required an estate administrator to make a portability election. While this case has the potential to provide some guidance on portability elections, individuals who are engaged in the probate process should not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable estate administration attorney. The Facts of the Vose Case In the case of Vose, a woman and her second husband signed prenuptial agreements prior to marriage. While these prenuptial agreements covered many terms, the agreements did not discuss portability elections. After the woman’s death, the woman’s child was appointed administrator of the woman’s estate. Although the child did not agree with it, an Oklahoma court ordered the portability election for the deceased woman be given to her section husband. The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s Decision     Read More

Will You Need to Hire an Oklahoma City Probate Attorney?

Acting as the executor of a loved one's estate can be a daunting task-both emotionally and logistically. For starters, if a loved one had a large estate that needed to be distributed, it would be your job to go through every single item of the deceased's estate to ensure that it was accounted for-a time consuming and meticulous task. Emotionally speaking, acting as the executor of an estate can put you in an awkward position with your family members. Even though you would only be acting on behalf of the deceased, all of the beneficiaries (and even non-beneficiaries) would view you as the bad guy should they not like what they did and did not receive. Because of this, many Oklahoma residents often find it beneficial to hire an Oklahoma City probate attorney to assist them with the probate process, or even to take over entirely. Reasons to Hire a Probate Attorney At Jim A. Lyon Law Firm, our probate attorney has dealt with the execution of many estates, and is equipped to help you should you find that you need assistance in executing your loved one's estate. When a client turns to us, it is typically for one of the following reasons: There is discord     Read More