When a person dies, something has to be done with the estate (assets and debts) the decedent leaves behind. This process, which involves proving the validity of the deceased person’s will, is called probate, which is based on the Latin word “probo,” meaning to prove. Probate can be costly and time-consuming for the deceased person’s family, so people often take measures to avoid probate if possible. This article explores how to avoid probate in Oklahoma.
Probate is the legal process of finalizing a person’s estate after they have died. It includes the following activities:
- Verifying the validity of the deceased’s will;
- Taking inventory of the deceased’s assets;
- Having the deceased’s property appraised;
- Paying off any debts and taxes; and
- Distributing the remaining proceeds according to the decedent’s will or state intestate law.
Probate is presided over by the executor named in the decedent’s will, and it often requires the help of an experienced probate attorney. It typically lasts for several months to a year, and it can be notably expensive for the decedent’s survivors.
To ease the burden on their survivors, many people make plans to allow their estate to avoid probate after they die.
Is Estate Planning Necessary?
There is rarely any need for young, healthy people to involve themselves in complex plans to avoid probate – they will only have to redo it later on in life to reflect the many changes that will have occurred. Also, if your estate is small enough, you will qualify for Oklahoma’s simplified probate plan, which is available for estates with values of less than $200,000. On the other hand, if you are older, in poor health and/or have a sizable estate, you may want to do whatever you can now to avoid having your estate go through probate.
Ways to Avoid Probate
There are several different options available to you in order to avoid probate. Here are the most frequently employed:
When you and your spouse own assets together, the assets will most likely pass to the other when the first of you dies. Check to make sure that title is held jointly and in the proper manner under Oklahoma law.
Name Beneficiaries for POD and TOD Designations.
POD designations can be added to bank accounts and certificates of deposits in order to have the funds transferred directly to a beneficiary upon your death, thereby bypassing probate. The same thing can be done for securities and mutual funds by simply adding a TOD beneficiary to your brokerage account.
A Revocable Living Trust
Creating a living trust, which is no more complicated than creating a will, is one of the most popular ways of avoiding probate. Once you create the trust, you can hold property in trust without having to relinquish any control and without any tax consequences. Upon your death, the property in the trust can be distributed by the person you name as trustee to whomever you name as beneficiary, without the need of probate. Once all property in the trust has been distributed, the trust will cease to exist.
Free, No-Obligation Consultation: Sapulpa Ok Probate Lawyer
Probate law is complex, and there are a variety of things that can go wrong if you attempt to navigate the law without the help of an attorney. Our knowledgeable probate lawyers can help you navigate tax laws to make sure you get the most out of the estate you’re entitled to under the law.
For a free consultation with a Sapulpa probate attorney, call the Wirth Law Office – Sapulpa at (918) 248-0067 or toll-free at (888) 947-8452 or submit the question form at the top right of this page. Either way you reach out to us, we will promptly respond to your legal concerns about probate.