The Cost of Probate in Oklahoma: How Is the Cost Determined?
The cost of probate is the second concern of Oklahoma citizens, right after how probate works. The cost of probating depends on several factors. You will learn about those factors and how they affect the cost of probate in Oklahoma in this blog post.
This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. Although several factors are used to determine the cost of probate in Oklahoma, the probate process for each estate has its unique fact pattern.
To better understand the cost of probating your specific matter, schedule a free consultation with the probate attorneys of Ball Morse Lowe now.
In Oklahoma, a small estate is defined as an estate that does not exceed $50,000 in personal property value, not including real estate. How probate legal process works when there is a small estate involved is much easier. The cost of probating a small estate when compared to a large estate is generally less expensive.
Small estates do not need to go through probate court. Instead, if the personal representative needs to collect a debt on behalf of the small estate, they can complete and file a small estate affidavit to do so. The small estate heir can also complete and file a small estate affidavit to claim personal property from the estate.
According to Oklahoma law, the court costs or filing fee associated with filing the small estate affidavit depends on where it must be filed. For example, if you are claiming a vehicle, you would complete Form 405. It would need to be submitted with a copy of the decedent’s death certificate and unprobated will. It must also be notarized. You would also need to contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission in the county you live in to determine the fee.
Before completing a small estate affidavit as an heir or personal representative, you may find it is beneficial to get legal advice about probating an estate. Even small estates can become confusing when it comes to where and when you should submit them. A probate attorney can assist you in unraveling the complexity of the estate.
The cost of probate in Oklahoma for large estates depends on the complexity of the estate and court costs. Large estates require the full attention of the probate court. The appointed personal representative whose task it is to handle the administration of the estate must submit specific reports for court approval.
Here are some of the factors that can impact the cost of probating a large estate:
- Whether you are probating a will in Oklahoma. When there is a will involved, the probate court first validates the will. Then, as the probate process continues, the will is followed to determine how the personal representative should distribute the assets.
- Whether you do not have a will for the administration of the estate. If there is no will, probating an estate involves what is known as intestacy law. This law is followed to determine how assets will be distributed after an appointed personal representative receives letters testamentary.
- Whether both the state and federal tax returns for the decedent have been completed and filed. Even if the estate is not large enough to qualify for federal estate taxes, the decedent’s final state and federal personal taxes must be completed and paid. Completing the final tax returns is the job of the personal representative during the administration of the estate.
- Whether there are objections to the estate made by creditors to how the personal representative handles their claim during the probate process. Creditors must be notified of the decedent’s death during the administration of the estate. They are given a certain amount of time to file a claim for payment. The claim can be approved or denied. The creditors may decide to attend the probate hearing to object to the treatment of their claim. Hiring a probate attorney can be very beneficial instead of independent administration, especially when dealing with creditors.
- Whether some beneficiaries or heirs contest the will. Probating an estate can become more costly when family members or the surviving spouse decides to contest the will or how the estate is being handled. Probate litigation can often happen during the active probate process for a variety of reasons, including a determination of heirship hearing.
These are only a few factors that can impact the cost of probating a large estate in Oklahoma. To determine whether you’re dealing with a large estate or to learn more about the factors that affect the cost, schedule a free consultation with Ball Morse Lowe.
What is left of the estate after the probate process depends on:
- If there is any money due to the state or federal governments after filing the tax returns
- If any creditors must be paid and the amount that must be paid to them
- Any other expenses, such as if appraisals on estate assets that needed to be completed.
The cost of a probate attorney in Oklahoma depends on your needs. You’ve already learned that the cost of probating depends on the complexity of an estate, whether creditors object, or someone contests the estate during probate.
The real question many people have: what is the cost of a probate attorney in Oklahoma? The best way to get an answer to that question is to ask the probate attorney that you’re considering. Lawyers generally offer either an hourly rate or a flat rate, depending on the need.
For example, if the deceased person owned property in Texas, muniment of title may be required. Muniment of title often makes the administration of the estate more complex. However, some probate attorneys may specialize in this and offer special packages. Others may charge an hourly rate.
Look for a probate attorney that offers a free consultation, such as Ball Morse Lowe, so that you can have an honest conversation about the cost associated with your probate matter.
Generally speaking, attorney’s fees associated with the administration of the estate are paid by the person who hired the probate attorney. For example, if the personal representative is hiring the probate attorney to assist with probating a will in Oklahoma, the personal representative would be responsible for paying the attorney’s fees. If an heir or a beneficiary hires a probate attorney to contest the probate matter during or after, the heir or beneficiary is responsible for paying the attorney’s fees.
If the deceased person elects an attorney in their will to administer the estate, the estate would be used to pay the attorney’s fees and the court costs for probating the estate. This is often a reasonable solution during the estate planning process if you are concerned that naming a personal representative will cause discontent because of your estate's size.
You can go to probate court on your own, but independent administration can be complicated and confusing. Court approval is required in probate court for many reports throughout the process. You must also notify creditors, heirs, and potential heirs. You must handle claims. You must complete the tax returns for the deceased person.
To put it briefly, there is a lot for the personal representative to do. If there is no will? There’s more to do in probate procedure. We only provided a partial list of what is required when probating an estate. There’s also the emotional toll.
Probating an Estate: Should I Hire a Probate Attorney?
Considering the complexities involved in probating an estate with an independent administration, it may be prudent for you to at least consider hiring a probate attorney. Whether you were appointed as the personal representative in the will or as part of dependent administration because there was no will, probating an estate can be stressful and involve a lot of work (on top of your personal life).
The guidance and assistance of a probate attorney can ease the burden. Ball Morse Lowe recommends that you schedule a free consultation to learn how hiring a probate attorney can benefit you, whether you are the personal representative, an heir or potential heir, or a beneficiary.
Free Consult with Oklahoma Probate Attorneys
The administration of the estate can be stressful. While small estates can often be handled without a probate attorney, it is often beneficial to consult with one to learn more about using a small estate affidavit. This can often prevent future issues.
For large estates, which require the probate court’s full attention, the guidance of a probate attorney can be vital. You may be able to avoid legal pitfalls, receive assistance in talking with creditors, and have the legal assistance you need if any probate litigation occurs.
To learn more about how probate works, independent administration, and how a probate attorney can benefit you, schedule your free consult with the Oklahoma probate attorneys of Ball Morse Lowe now.