Those designated to be the personal representatives of estates should be prepared to devote many months to the process. Probate administration is typically uneventful, but there is always the possibility that an unforeseen event will throw the process into a tailspin. The potential for delays and disputes may appear early in the process, and executors of estates in Oklahoma may find it helpful to understand how the process begins.
For some people in Oklahoma, their only experience with probate happens when someone close to them dies. In those instances, the heirs and benefactors may be shocked to learn how long it takes to complete probate administration, which is the legal procedure for validating a will and distributing its assets. Even a simple estate with few assets and limited heirs may take eight months or more before all aspects of probate are finished. However, there are certain factors that can tie up the process indefinitely.
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.
When someone dies, there is often a focus on how the person's assets will be distributed. While some may anticipate an inheritance from a loved one's estate, what they may not realize is that an inheritance will only come after probate administration. This process involves many different elements, but one important factor is paying off the debts of the deceased. It is entirely possible that a loved one's debts will deplete some or all of the assets.
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.