Oklahoma Probate Court: What You Need to Know?
With so many questions about the Oklahoma Probate Court, court forms, and the probate process, where can you turn for probate court information and probate resources that are reliable? While resources such as the Elder Financial Safety Center exist and provide excellent information, they don’t always provide state-specific legal advice for Oklahoma.
In fact, probate resources and probate court information found online, even in blog posts such as this, are for informational and educational purposes only. They should not be relied on as legal advice. For legal advice, you should seek the counsel of a probate attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Oklahoma, such as scheduling a free consultation with Ball Morse Lowe.
In this blog post, you’ll learn more about the Oklahoma Probate Court, including:
- Whether probate is complicated in the State of Oklahoma
- Whether you can go to Oklahoma Probate Court alone
- Whether you should represent yourself in probate court
- How long a probate case takes
- Why the Oklahoma probate process takes the amount of time it does
- How you can be better prepared for probate court
- Who needs to attend a probate hearing in Oklahoma
- Whether you need to take any probate forms with you
- What’s required to probate a will in the State of Oklahoma
- When the court will distribute property to the heirs
Is Probate Complicated in the State of Oklahoma?
Probate can be complicated in the State of Oklahoma. Each probate case has its own circumstances and assets. Although a will can minimize complications by naming a personal administrator who will handle the estate administration and by outlining how assets should be distributed, it does not guarantee that fiduciary litigation won’t occur. It does not guarantee that probate litigation won’t occur.
If there is no will, probate indeed becomes more complicated. Laws in the State of Oklahoma determine how assets will be distributed. Estate administration takes longer since there is no will. It is often more expensive as well.
When there is no will, the probate judge or associate judges will also determine who will take on estate administration. However, the person taking on this role could still face litigation issues and fighting among heirs.
Can You Go to Oklahoma Probate Court Alone?
Yes, you can go to Oklahoma Probate Court alone for a probate case or fiduciary litigation. If you choose to do this and you are an heir or the estate administrator, there are some facts that you should keep in mind.
- The probate court county clerk cannot give you advice about your probate case. They may be able to give you court forms or tell you where to find probate resources, but they cannot give you legal advice.
- Although the probate judge and associate judges are attorneys, they cannot give you legal advice.
- Unless you get them from Oklahoma County, forms that you find online may not be legally sufficient.
If you go to Oklahoma Probate Court alone and another party has an attorney in the probate case, it could be challenging to know whether you are being treated fairly.
Should You Represent Yourself in Oklahoma Probate Court?
Deciding whether to represent yourself in Oklahoma Probate Court is a personal choice. Ultimately, you must weigh the risks in doing so. If there is fiduciary litigation or other probate litigation, the legal consequences can be severe. In those instances, it may not be in your best interest to represent yourself. At the very least, you should seek a free initial consultation to learn about what could occur.
In summary matters or simple estates, there may not be dire consequences. Therefore, representing yourself in a probate case could be a good alternative. If issues do arise, you always have the option to seek legal counsel at that time.
How Long Does a Probate Case Take?
The amount of time a probate case takes depends on the complexity of the matter. Generally, a probate case takes between four and six months. Some, however, can take a year or even longer.
Do I need a Trust or Will?
Why Does Oklahoma Probate Take So Long?
The length of time it takes to complete an Oklahoma probate case depends on several factors.
- Whether there is a will. If there isn’t a will, Oklahoma intestacy laws are used to determine who the estate administrator will and how assets will be distributed.
- How long it takes for the proper probate forms to be filed. When beginning a case, certain probate forms must be filed. Additionally, estate administration also requires certain forms to be filed as well.
- The complexity of the estate. If there are assets outside of the county or state, it can take longer to complete the probate case.
- Whether fiduciary litigation or other probate litigation occurs. When litigation of any type occurs, it lengthens the amount of time that probate takes.
How Can You Be Better Prepared for Probate Court?
To be better prepared for probate court, start by ensuring that you have all of the proper forms for your probate case. If you’re the estate administrator, make sure that you fulfilled all of your obligations as required by the court, including creating an inventory of the assets. Be prepared to distribute the assets and close the estate after paying the debts and taxes.
It is also vital to consider whether you may need a probate attorney. Ball Morse Lowe provides free initial consultations. Our probate lawyers can help you determine how you can be better prepared for probate court and whether hiring an attorney would benefit your probate case.
Who Needs to Attend a Probate Hearing in Oklahoma?
In general, the only individuals who need to attend a probate hearing in Oklahoma are the personal representative and any creditors who wish to be heard by the probate court. Of course, heirs and beneficiaries can also attend.
If fiduciary litigation or other probate litigation occurs, anyone named in the litigation matter needs to attend. Failure to attend can result in serious legal consequences.
These consequences can impact the litigants financially as well as result in muniment of title, deed issues, or tax issues.
Do You Need to Take Any Probate Forms with You?
When beginning a case with the probate court, there are specific forms that must be filed. You must file a petition to open the case. You will also need to provide a death certificate and the will, if you have one. If there is no will, you will need to submit additional probate forms.
As the probate case moves through the process, you may need to complete and submit additional probate forms to the Oklahoma Probate Court.
Depending upon the last county of residence of the deceased individual, your form may be slightly different — but they all generally contain the same information.
What Is Required to Probate a Will the State of Oklahoma?
To probate a will in the State of Oklahoma, you need:
- The death certificate
- The will of the deceased
- A completed petition
The will usually names a personal representative who manages estate administration under the eye of the probate court.
When Will the Court Distribute Property to Heirs?
Estate administration is the process that distributes property to the heirs. However, it cannot be completed until their fiduciary responsibilities are fulfilled. Specifically, creditors must be notified and paid.
Only after the creditors are paid can the court approve the distribution of the remaining property to heirs.
Free Consult: Oklahoma Probate Attorneys
There’s a lot to learn about Oklahoma probate. There’s also a lot that can happen in a probate case. To ensure that you have appropriate probate court information, whether you are beginning a case or involved in fiduciary litigation and need representation, Ball Morse Lowe is here to help. Our Oklahoma City probate attorneys provide free representations. Schedule your consultation now.