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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.

One thing that slows down probate is when the estate executor or any beneficiaries live far from the attorney handling the estate. Since certain papers must have original signatures, electronic methods of communication often won't work, so time must be allowed for traveling or other means of corresponding. What causes the greatest hindrance to a speedy probate is when heirs disagree or contest the will. This may result in additional court appearances to resolve the disputes before the inheritance can be distributed.

Essentially, a simple estate with limited beneficiaries may take several months to a year to complete probate administration, barring complications. An estate with more complex assets and numerous heirs is likely to take considerably longer. While no one can predict the exact nature of any problems that may arise, having the advice of an Oklahoma attorney is one way to ensure one's best interests are represented throughout the process.

Source: thebalance.com, "Find out How Long to Expect Probate to Take", Julie Garber, Accessed on Sept. 16, 2017

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