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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.

Other items that may frustrate probate are those that fall under the governance of state or federal laws. For example, certain weapons may not be passed along even if a will designates an heir. Additionally, digital assets and frozen embryos have received much press recently for the complications they add to an estate.

One of the primary obligations of an estate executor is to secure the assets during probate administration. This may be especially important if the home has many objects of sentimental value that have not been itemized in a will. For assistance with the many duties of probate, Oklahoma estate executors often seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help them through tricky situations.

Source: CNBC, "7 ways that cheap Tweety Bird figurine can screw up your estate", Kelli B. Grant, Oct. 10, 2017

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