5 Steps to Probate an Estate in Oklahoma

5 Steps to Probate an Estate in Oklahoma

By: Solid Serenity Legal Services

As the old adage goes, there are few things in life that are certain.  But, death and taxes are the certainties of life. So, knowing we all face the inevitable, what do you do in Oklahoma when a loved one dies? Here are the 5 steps to probate an estate in Oklahoma.

(1) Plan the Funeral. Go to the Funeral. Grieve.

The benefit of the probate process in Oklahoma is that there is no expiration date on when you have to begin.  Take your time to get through the hardest part of your grieving process. When you get your head above water, start focusing on taking care of the legal matters of the estate. Or, better yet, hire someone who can take care of that for you.

(2) Determine what, if anything, was owned jointly with someone else.

In Oklahoma, people can own many assets jointly with another person.  These assets can include real estate, vehicles, and bank accounts.  Though there can be exceptions, it is safe to assume items owned jointly will pass to the surviving owner, outside of the Oklahoma probate process. If your situation is different, an attorney can let you know.

(3) Find out if there are living beneficiaries listed.

Many assets will have beneficiaries listed, such as stocks, bonds, insurance, and retirement accounts.  As long as the beneficiary has been kept up to date and the beneficiary listed is still alive, the assets with listed beneficiaries will go to those named, outside of the Oklahoma probate process.

If there is no listed beneficiary, or the beneficiaries died before the deceased, you will have to probate the asset.

(4) Calculate the value of assets not owned jointly, with named beneficiaries, or owned by a Trust.

You need to have a rough idea of the value of any property not owned jointly, with named beneficiaries, or owned through a Trust.  If these assets include real estate, or are over $50,000, you will need to file a probate in the County where the property is held, or if the deceased is an Oklahoma resident, where the deceased died. If the property is worth less than $50,000 and not real estate, you can usually use an Affidavit of Tangible Personal Property, signed by all heirs, to get the company holding the funds to release them to you. The key word is usually.

(5) We have to go through probate.  Now what?

There are a few different options for probate in the State of Oklahoma.  There are shortened versions for estates less than $200,000, estates where decedents passed away more than 5 years ago, and estates where someone died and had their assets probated in another state, but they own property in Oklahoma.  The value of the estate includes all of the assets that have to go through probate, even real estate.

Depending on your situation, you may qualify for one of these fast-track options.  They can be faster than other probates, and cost less. Regardless of your probate process, you will need the names and addresses of all the closest surviving relatives and the names and addresses of all creditors.

You will need to determine if there is a Will.  You will also need to decide who will manage the assets of the estate and make sure the assets are distributed properly.

Then, you will have to prepare your documents and have a hearing with the Judge for the County where you are filing.  Though you can file on your own, without an attorney, keep in mind probate is a very complex, time-sensitive process.

There are many rules you have to follow to complete a probate.  Hiring an experienced attorney can save you hours of research and stress, and often, even money since they will get it done right the first time.

It is worth it to at least speak with a few attorneys and see what they have to offer.  We can provide you peace of mind and take the worry of the process off your shoulders. If you have questions after a loved one died, call or email us today!

3 thoughts on “5 Steps to Probate an Estate in Oklahoma

  1. My mother passed away 30 years old leaving only a 1/3 acre lot in Nicoma Park, ok valued less than 20,000. I am trying to get the property put in my name so that I can sell it. I am her only heir. I have gotten conflicting information from the county clerk, probate office and the assessors office. I don’t want an attorney. Any suggestions. I’ve been told it doesn’t have to be printed and someone else says I do.

    1. Real estate has to go through probate to change title in Oklahoma, unless it is owned jointly or has a Transfer on Death Deed filed on the property.

  2. My younger brother passed away in Jan 2021 due to Covid-19. My father recently found a letter that showed my brother had an insurance policy through a name brand company and it was due to expire in June 2021, meaning the policy was in effect during the time of his passing. According to the company there were no next of kin or beneficiaries listed. Because of that the company is requesting we contact the probate court in order to validate/ verify who we are. They gave me a list of 8 different ways to file and said the court would say which was best. Our father is still alive. But my 32 yr old daughter was listed on my brother’s life insurance from his work. So I we would like to have my daughter as the beneficiary of this policy as well and then let her divide everything like she did before. Believe me, she deserved it all as for the last 8 yrs she is the one who took over my mother’s funeral and took care of my brother & father for these past years. I think that’s why my brother named her on the one policy. And… she divided the entire payment out to all our members of the family. So what I’d like to ask.. going into those, just from the little info provided would you be able to guesstimate which course would be best to cover this one policy that we have no clue as to how much it is valued at. My brother has no other financial / estate issues that we know of. Sorry if this isn’t much to go on.

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