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.
Although the death of a loved one may be difficult, some find comfort in the generous gifts the deceased leaves behind. However, making a will or other estate plan only goes so far if the documents are not updated regularly. For example, probate administration becomes difficult when designated heirs cannot be located. Oklahoma laws typically require an extensive search before closing the estate.
While it may seem that a loved one's death is the end, in many respects, it is the beginning. For example, it is the beginning of the complex process of bringing closure to the estate of the deceased. Those in Oklahoma who have never experienced the death of someone close may have many questions about what to expect and who carries the responsibility for completing the many tasks of probate administration.
In the uncertain days and weeks that pass immediately following the death of a loved one, there may be a great deal of confusion and uncertainty. The surviving spouse or loved ones may have very little understanding of the state of the family finances or the true scope of the estate. Knowing what needs to be done is the first step to bringing it all into order through probate administration.
Estate planning provides guidance and direction for those who hold a legal interest in someone's assets. By detailing one's wishes and preferences, probate administration can be simplified and, in some cases, bypassed altogether. However, what many in Oklahoma overlook when planning their estates is the designation of rights for their digital assets. Unlike physical assets, many digital assets are protected by law and cannot simply be handed down to an heir without careful preparation.
In Oklahoma, when a family member dies suddenly, it is often under tragic circumstances. When several family members perish at the same time and a fortune is at stake, it may be under suspicious circumstances. The sisters of a deceased woman in another state have their suspicions about their nephew, the last person to see his mother and grandfather alive, who is next in line to inherit a portion of a $40 million estate now in probate administration. They have petitioned the probate court to bar the young man from receiving any of the assets.
When a loved one dies, family and friends may carry a burden of grief. However, for the one chosen to be the personal representative of the deceased, there may be additional burdens to bear. Probate administration can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, and being named the executor of someone's estate means dealing with that frustration almost exclusively. Those in Oklahoma charged with the task may find a few tips helpful.
One of the appeals of a trust-based estate plan is that it allows the assets funded in the trust to avoid probate. A drawback of a revocable trust is that people often forget to fund all of their important assets to the trust. When this happens, those assets not funded must go through probate administration.
One of the most difficult choices people must make when planning their estates is to choose the person who will represent them during probate. Probate administration can be tedious and frustrating. It can also be time-consuming. The person chosen for this important task must be able to fulfill the duties in accordance with Oklahoma law.
Few people in Oklahoma take the time to plan their estates. To do so may be unsettling to some, but it is a generous gift to loved ones who are left behind. Part of estate planning is selecting someone to be executor of the estate. This job includes seeing the estate through probate administration, which is not always an easy task. The duties and challenges of an estate executor may not be fully appreciated until one has undertaken the job.