The Tulsa, Oklahoma probate process sounds complicated, but the underlying concept is pretty simple.
When a property owner dies, Oklahoma estate law provides for a comprehensive legal process that takes control of the deceased’s probate property, assesses its actual value, pays debtors, and distributes the assets to the property owner’s legatees (if the person died with a will) or heirs (if the person died without a will).
The probate process takes place in the district court of the county where the deceased person lived. In Oklahoma, the first step in the probate process is for the will’s executor to file the will for probate in the district court where the deceased property owner lived.
The will executor refers to the person who steps into the shoes of the deceased individual to conduct the business of the estate and pay estate taxes, laws, and expenses. He or she must also ensure that the property is fairly distributed to the proper parties.
Why is Probate Important?
Typically, an estate is probated for the following reasons:
- to protect the estate’s property,
- to identify and take control of the deceased person’s property,
- to pay debts and taxes, and
- to determine who is entitled to what share of the estate and distribute the property fairly to the correct people.
The Role of an Attorney in the Oklahoma Probate Process
While Oklahoma state law doesn’t require will executors to hire an experienced attorney to guide them through the probate process, they have a fiduciary duty that they must fulfill properly once they agree to take on the responsibility.
As a will executor, you have many obligations that you must fulfill during the probate process. Some of the obligations require an in-depth understanding of complex laws that relate to title transfers, taxes, and more.
Therefore, navigating through the complex probate process and ensuring the successful transfer of assets to the right individuals without the help of an experienced probate attorney could be difficult, and it is not something that you should attempt to do.
You need to keep in mind that a court or judge cannot and will not advise you on the correct procedures that you need to follow to complete the process successfully.
If you fail to fulfill your obligations as the executor of the will, you could cause the overall value of the estate to be reduced and assets to be lost, which can lead to severe legal repercussions. Every executor of a will requires an experienced probate attorney to make the probate process easier.
If you are not an executor of the will, you will still need to work with a probate attorney who will guide you through the entire process. An experienced probate attorney in Oklahoma will provide you with legal assistance by taking care of all the technical requirements of the process. He or she will:
- Help you find qualified and trustworthy professionals such as business valuation experts to determine an estate’s actual value.
- Explain your obligations in simple terms and advise you on how to manage the assets of the deceased person.
- File IRS tax forms and all the paperwork on your behalf to ensure that you comply with estate tax laws.
- Prepare and file all court paperwork associated with probating the will.
- Represent you in all probate court proceedings.
- Defend the validity of the last will and statement if anyone decides to contest the will that the deceased person left behind.
Contact a Qualified Probate Lawyer in Tulsa
Do you need the services of a qualified and experienced probate attorney? Talk to Oklahoma Will & Trust. Probate Attorney Jason M. Lile will be there to ensure that the probate process runs as quickly and efficiently as possible with minimum stress. He will guide you through every step of the way, no matter what your role is in the probate process.
Talk to us today to get personalized advice about the whole Oklahoma probate process. Call 918-876-4500 to schedule your free consultation.