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Probate administration isn't always bad but can be avoided

Many people in Oklahoma who are given advice about estate planning are told to avoid probate at any cost. They hear that probate can take months or years, and it is expensive. Planning an estate to avoid probate is preferable to subjecting loved ones to probate administration. However, probate does not have to be as bad as all that. In fact, there are things worse than probate to worry about after a person dies.

Unless one has placed his or her assets into a revocable trust, it is pretty safe to say that the estate will go through probate. Even a will does not protect an estate from the process of probate; however, a will can simplify the process and eliminate many issues that arise from having no plan at all. A will designates an estate administrator, but the courts make that decision for estates with no will.

The more serious concern after one's death is disputes among heirs. Arguments that lead to litigation are frequently the escalation of disagreement from years past. Reducing the chances of a feud over one's estate may be possible if, when preparing a will, one is as thorough as possible with instructions and explanations. Some people like to include personal letters with their estate plan to clarify the reasons for their bequests. Taking this step may simplify the probate issue as well.

Too often, however, Oklahoma family members are left with no clear outline of a parent or loved one's intentions. When this happens, they frequently turn to a probate administration attorney for help with every step of the probate process. They may also take this as a cautionary tale and visit a lawyer to spare their own families the burden of a long, drawn-out probate.

Source: money.usnews.com, "Will your heirs end up in Probate Court?", Maryalene LaPonsie, Accessed on March 18, 2017

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