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Sentimental items may stall probate administration

When a loved one dies, surviving family members may feel fortunate to inherit his or her real estate, bank accounts and other valuable assets. However, for Oklahoma families where more value was placed on relationships and tradition, those inheritances may be secondary to the sentimental items that may not even be mentioned in a will. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to carefully guard the estate during probate administration.

It is common for a grandmother to promise a well-loved item to someone who shows special interest. For example, recipes, Christmas ornaments, photographs and pieces of jewelry may have little to no monetary value, but they may carry special memories to a potential heir. If grandmother promises her recipes to one child, she may not remember that she has already made the same promise to another. Without a will or other estate planning document, the verbal promise may not hold up in court.

Poor estate planning leaves heir with unexpected debt

Many hope to leave a little something behind for their loved ones when they pass from this life. With the help of careful estate planning, they may be able to simplify the often complex process that follows when someone dies in Oklahoma. However, without solid advice and guidance, it is possible that well-meaning loved ones may leave their heirs with unintended burdens.

One example of such a burden involves a man who inherited a home after his grandmother passed away. The home was in disrepair, but the man and his family lovingly proceeded to restore it by replacing the plumbing, replastering the ceiling, repairing beams and stripping wallpaper. What they did not realize was that, although the mortgage on the house had been paid off, the grandmother had taken a second mortgage to finance repairs she planned to make.

Probate administration handles debts of an estate

When someone dies, there is often a focus on how the person's assets will be distributed. While some may anticipate an inheritance from a loved one's estate, what they may not realize is that an inheritance will only come after probate administration. This process involves many different elements, but one important factor is paying off the debts of the deceased. It is entirely possible that a loved one's debts will deplete some or all of the assets.

After the death of a loved one who has left a will, an executor is formally appointed by the Oklahoma court. One of the first duties of the executor is to gather information about the debts the deceased may have owed. This may be done by obtaining a credit report. The executor will also notify the credit reporting agencies and any known creditors to alert them of the passing of the account holder. The creditors will have a limited amount of time to make a claim on the estate.

Woman with previous record arrested for drunk driving

With the increase in accidents and fatalities involving drugs and alcohol, police are on the alert for drivers showing signs of impairment. A driver accused of operating a vehicle under the influence may face an uncertain future, especially if he or she already has a record of similar offenses. Recently, an Oklahoma woman with a record of numerous convictions for drunk driving was arrested and charged with the same offense.

Police received a call to respond to a reckless driver on a local highway. The caller reported the driver was slowing down to 45 mph, then suddenly reaching speeds up to 80 mph. When officers allegedly witnessed the driver committing a traffic violation, they followed the car until it came to a stop in a driveway.

Hefner's estate planning may include Q-TIP trust

Like him or not, Hugh Hefner had an influence on society. The founder of Playboy magazine was known for his lavish, unbounded parties and was always flanked by beautiful women. When he died recently at the age of 91, many in Oklahoma may have wondered about the man's estate planning and the distribution of the fortune he spent his lifetime accumulating.

At the time of his death, Hefner was married to his third wife, a 31-year-old model. The couple had no children, but apparently, they did have a prenuptial agreement, so the widow will not likely inherit the $140 million estate he left behind. However, financial experts say Hefner may have provided for his wife of five years through a Q-TIP trust.

Jerry Lewis surprises some with his estate planning decisions

Celebrities either meticulously plan their estates or shock their fans by leaving no instructions for the distribution of their fortunes. The recent death of comedian and legend Jerry Lewis has not failed to garner surprise and interest from Oklahoma fans and estate planning experts alike. While some in the media report the contents of Lewis's will as shocking, other analysts argue that his actions are not all that unusual.

In the will he executed in 2012, Jerry Lewis named each of his six sons, saying he was intentionally excluding them and their descendants from any claim to his $50 million estate. His sons from his nearly 40-year marriage to his first wife get nothing. Therefore, Lewis's second wife and their adopted 25-year-old daughter are the likely beneficiaries of the massive fortune.

DUI impact on employment

Driving under the influence is a serious offense, and the courts treat it as such. If you or a loved one faces a DUI charge, it could come with serious consequences outside of fees and possible jail time.

For those who do not have a job, it may be difficult to secure one. Individuals who hold professional licenses may face serious issues as well.

Woman charged with drunk driving after vehicle hits tree

Driving in Oklahoma is often treacherous, whether it is in the heavy traffic of big cities or the rural highways where wildlife may appear at any moment. To have an accident is stressful enough, especially when children are in the vehicle. However, when police charge the driver with drunk driving, the driver's life may be put on hold indefinitely.

One 28-year-old woman is in such a situation following a late afternoon accident. She and her 25-year-old passenger were traveling along a rural highway with three children. For unknown reasons, the vehicle left the roadway, veering to the right shoulder. The driver apparently overcorrected and lost control of the vehicle, crashing it into a tree.

Probate administration may be delayed for many reasons

The death of a loved one often sends a family into confusion. Work, school and personal lives are put on hold while family members gather to help with final arrangements and celebrate the life of the deceased. Within days, the matters of probate administration begin, and those in Oklahoma who are unfamiliar with the process may have many questions about these legal obligations, particularly how long they last.

The sorrow of losing a loved one is often tempered by a generous gift left in a will. Even if it isn't of financial value, having a part of a loved one's estate can be precious, and those expecting such a gift may be impatient to receive it. Nevertheless, probate takes time; in fact, it may be many months before the process is complete. Closing someone's estate means paying off bills, filing a final tax return, seeking out beneficiaries and gathering the assets. All of this may seem painstakingly slow.

Oklahoma City woman faces assault, DUI charges

Oklahoma City police say an officer was cruising on SW 22nd Street when he saw a vehicle that looked like one that had been reported earlier. Officials believed the driver might be drunk.

The suspect began speeding away, however, police said, exceeding 75 mph at times. The eastbound vehicle ran the stop sign at SW 22 and Western and then headed down a gravel road, the officer reported. He saw the car then slam into a rock. The 25-year-old driver was taken into custody after she reportedly struggled with officers. She's charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and assault and battery on a police officer.

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