4 Times You Don’t Need a Probate After a Loved One’s Death in Oklahoma
By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
When we lose a loved one, we have a flurry of emotions. Shock, confusion, anger, and sadness can overwhelm us. The overwhelm can make it difficult to know what to do, when, or how.
If you recently lost a loved one, you will need to decide if you have to go through the Court process of probate. Probate transfers a Decedent’s assets to their heirs.
Here are 4 times you don’t need a probate after a loved one’s death in Oklahoma.
(1) When All Assets Are Owned Jointly with A Surviving Owner
Many assets can be owned by more than one person as joint tenants with right of survivorship. That includes bank accounts, automobiles, and even real property.
If the property owned by the Decedent is held jointly with rights of survivorship, the property will pass to the surviving owner entirely. Be careful to check your ownership documents if you think you own all your property jointly with your spouse. Many probates have been started over real estate that was owned “jointly” but didn’t have the “with right of survivorship” language.
Do me a favor right now and check your property deeds to make sure this language is in there. If it’s not, book an appointment with us to fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.
(2) When All Assets Are Owned By a Trust
One estate planning tool used often to avoid probate is a Trust. A Trust avoids the probate process because all of the assets titled into the Trust are owned by the Trust at the owner’s death. So, there is no need for the Court process of probate to transfer the assets.
The exception to the rule is when an asset is missed and not properly titled into the Trust. If you have a trust, take a moment now to make sure all of your real estate, bank accounts, and other property you want to pass through the Trust are properly titled into the Trust. Call us with any questions.
(3) When Beneficiaries Are Named
When you set up retirement accounts and life insurance, they often ask you to name beneficiaries for the accounts. In Oklahoma, you can also name Payable on Death beneficiaries to your bank accounts through each individual bank’s process. You can also name beneficiaries for your real property with a Transfer on Death Deed.
When the Decedent had beneficiaries on their accounts, the beneficiaries should be able to access the accounts with a death certificate. If there is a Transfer on Death Deed on file, you have a limited amount of time to file an affidavit to claim your interest before the real property reverts back to an estate that must be probated.
If the beneficiaries are no longer living, the property will go through probate. So, please make sure to keep your beneficiaries updated.
(4) When the Property is Personal Property With a Value Less Than $50,000
If real estate is not owned jointly with right of survivorship, or has a Transfer on Death Deed on file, it will usually have to go through probate regardless of value. But, personal property is different.
Under Oklahoma law, personal property with a value less than $50,000 can be transferred using an Affidavit of Tangible Personal Property and providing the Affidavit to the company holding the property. Personal property includes bank accounts, debts owed to the Decedent, and most anything else that is not real estate.
There is an exception to this rule for property held by the State Treasurer in unclaimed property. The Treasurer has a specific rule that requires probate to recover claims for a Decedent that are valued over $12,000.
If you recently lost a loved one and need help deciding if you need a probate, book an appointment online with us today.
We can also help you implement your own plan using these 4 tools so a loved one won’t have to probate your estate after your death.