The probate procedure can be complicated. How can you tell what you need and what you may not need when it comes to Oklahoma probate forms? And what, exactly, do those forms do? At Ball Morse Lowe, we recognize that beginning a case in the Oklahoma Probate Court can be very overwhelming. One of our goals is to help you gain fundamental knowledge over probate forms in this blog post. You will learn more about:
- Which Oklahoma probate forms are required to open a decedent’s estate
- Which forms are required for probate with a will
- Which forms are required for probate without a will
- What a small estate affidavit is
- The estate administration forms needed by personal representatives
If you have questions about Oklahoma probate forms or the probate procedure, schedule a free consultation with Ball Morse Lowe, as no blog post is a substitute for legal advice. Legal solutions for a new case, determination of heirship, or any matter involving the Oklahoma Probate Court should be provided on an individual basis.
Which Oklahoma probate forms are required depends on which type of probate procedure needs to occur or what needs to happen in the new case. For example, a new case involving minor children would involve guardianship documents.
If the decedent did not have minor children, there wouldn’t be a need for
those documents unless they were the guardian of an incapacitated
Other probate forms such as motions, responses, and objections may also be used. However, they are not used in every case. We will discuss the most common probate forms used in the Oklahoma Probate Court in this blog post in order to provide the most educational content. However, it is essential to note that it is not a complete list of court forms that may be required. It is also not a list of probate instructions. The Oklahoma Bar Association provides free information regarding both the Oklahoma probate procedure and estate planning.Which Probate Forms Are Required for Beginning a Case?
Oklahoma probate forms required for beginning a case include:
- The Petition for Probate
- The Affidavit of Mailing
There are other probate forms required for beginning a case, depending on whether there is a will. You may also need other probate forms depending on the size of the decedent’s estate. However, to open a probate matter in Oklahoma Probate Court, you will need to complete the Petition for Probate and the Affidavit of Mailing. You will also need to pay the filing fee. You will also need to present a copy of the death certificate.
Remember that these are only some of the forms to open a new case. These are not the only forms required to get through the entire probate procedure or the estate administration process. Creditors and heirs must be notified. The personal representative or other heirs may need to produce a muniment of title to prove ownership for certain assets. Trust documents may need to be produced. Each case is different.
Do I need a Trust or Will?
In addition to the Petition for Probate and the Affidavit of Mailing, there are specific probate forms required for probate with a will. Those forms include:
- Order for Hearing Petition for Probate of Will
- Order Admitting Will to Probate
- Letters Testamentary
- The will of the decedent
The Oklahoma Probate Court determines the validity of the will per the laws in Oklahoma. After validity is determined, the Order Admitting Will to Probate is signed. The Oklahoma Probate Court then issues Letters Testamentary to the personal representative.
A will plays an integral part in estate planning and in probate. Its purpose is more than explaining who gets what out of the decedent’s estate. It also names a personal representative. A personal representative is a person (or persons, you can name more than one person) who will handle your affairs when you die. If you die without a will, not only does probate take more time and sometimes cost more money, your belongings often do not go to the people that you wanted them to go to because Oklahoma intestacy laws apply.
When there is no will, there is no personal representative named. The Oklahoma Probate Court must appoint one. Therefore, probate without a will includes the Petition to open a new case as well as:
- Order for Appointing Administrator
- Petition for Letters of Administration
- Letters of Administration
Without a will, a suitable personal representative (administrator) must be named by the court. They may or may not be the next of kin for the deceased. It most often is the next of kin, but this is not always the case. The position of the personal representative is not one to be taken lightly if the court appoints you and there is no will. As a personal representative, it is imperative that you understand your responsibilities.
If you don’t know where to start, Ball Morse Lowe provides free initial
In Oklahoma, a small estate affidavit is used in certain circumstances to allow heirs to avoid the probate procedure. This affidavit is a probate form that is a legal document where you swear under the penalty of law that you are entitled to receive a specific asset from the decedent’s estate. You would submit the small estate affidavit along with a certified copy of the death certificate to get access to the asset.
However, there is a waiting period to receive the assets. Additionally, the assets must be worth $50,000 or less for a small estate affidavit to be used.
The primary estate administration forms for personal representatives are the Letters of Administration. The Oklahoma Probate Court issues the Letters of Administration. Similar to powers of attorney, the personal representative uses Letters of Administration to conduct official business on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
For example, the personal representative may need to start a trust as outlined in the will. The personal representative may need to access a safety deposit box at a bank. They may need to have real estate assessed and sold. They may need to withdraw funds from a bank account to pay creditors, taxes, or legal fees because of a determination of heirship hearing.
The probate procedure can be confusing and overwhelming. Ball Morse Lowe is here to help. Our probate and estate planning attorneys provide customized legal solutions to help our clients limit or avoid the time they spend involved with the Oklahoma Probate Court. To learn more about how Ball Morse Lowe can help you, schedule your free initial consultation now.
Do I need a Trust or Will?