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Reasons to avoid probate administration

Anyone in Oklahoma who has lost a loved one knows that once the funeral is over, an entirely new struggle often begins. That struggle is the complicated and frustrating world of probate administration. Most people understand that when someone dies without a will, the estate goes through probate. However, probate is required when decedents have left a will, and the process can be time consuming and expensive.

Probate is when the courts determine if a will is valid and appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. That executor is charged with making sure the heirs receive the assets the decedent has stipulated in his or her will. While it sounds like an easy process, it is often complicated by people claiming to be heirs or difficulties valuing the estate.

Even the most straightforward probate may take between six and eight months. If any aspect of the will is disputed, the process could stretch into years. During that time, the estate must be maintained, which may require some expense. There are other fees to consider, such as court costs and the fees for the personal representative.

There are estate planning tools to avoid the complex and often expensive probate administration process. Depending on the particular circumstances of an estate and family dynamic, there may be many options available to prepare one's assets for future generations -- including the use of trusts that do not require probate. Obtaining advice from an Oklahoma attorney will make it less likely that a person's heirs will need to endure the frustration of probate.

Source: tcpalm.com, "The problems with probate", Robert D. Schwartz, Accessed on March 5, 2017

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