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Probate Upon the death of a property owner, Oklahoma law provides for a legal process to determine the deceased owner’s probate assets, assess their value and distribute them to creditors and heirs. Such procedures take place in the district court of the county where the deceased property owner lived. If there is probate property of the deceased located in another state, additional proceedings called “ancillary administration” will be necessary in that state.
An estate is probated for the following reasons:
To pay debts and taxes,
To protect the property of the estate
To determine who is entitled to share in the estate and distribute the property to the proper parties
To identify and collect the probate property of the estate
In the case of real estate and other record ownership property, probate provides a method to secure the legal transfer of such record ownership and thereby maintain a clear chain of title to the property.
judge's desk
How the Probate System Works
A Personal Representative (if there is a Will) or Personal Administrator [If there is no Will) must be appointed by the Court to carry out the business of the estate and pay the debts, taxes and expenses, and, in the end, see that the property is distributed to the rightful parties in interest. All of these functions are carried out under the supervision of the district court.Probate property generally includes any property owned by the deceased person in his /her name alone that does not have a named beneficiary (Le. solely owned bank accounts, security accounts and real property). Probate property must go through probate court. Nonprobate property includes property held in a trust, retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and iRAs, life insurance, pay-on-death [POD] bank accounts, transfer-on-death (TOD) security accounts and property held in joint tenancy. Nonprobate property does not go through probate court. If the deceased person had a Will, the person’s Will determines who receives the probate property. If the deceased person did not have a Will, the intestate laws of Descent and Distribution determine who receives the probate property. These steps and proceedings require preparing and filing numerous legal documents, publishing certain notices in a newspaper, holding district court hearings, securing appraisals of property, preparing interim and final income tax returns and any required gift and estate tax returns, providing an accounting of funds, making actual distribution of the property and receiving the final discharge of the personal representative by the district court. Our firm is experienced in these matters and will walk you through each step of the probate process.