Lidia Law Firm, P.C.
Estate Planning & Business Law

Understanding probate

When someone dies in Oklahoma, many people may think they can simply take the belongings of the deceased. However, most of the time, a person's estate needs to go through probate. 

The Motley Fool says that probate determines whether a will is valid. The executor of the estate typically needs to make a list of the assets and debts the deceased has and take these to court with the will. The court usually considers the will's validity and tells the executor how to manage the assets before they are distributed to the beneficiaries. While some people might think it will not take long to show that the will is valid, probate can be a long process. Sometimes it may take several months for a court to rule that the assets can be handed out to family members.

Probate may be essential if someone does not have a will. According to Nerd Wallet, a court usually assigns an executor to the estate and decides how the assets will be divided. In this situation, a person's spouse and children typically receive assets. If someone is not married or does not have children, then the court generally distributes assets to siblings, nieces and nephews.

The size of an estate generally determines whether the estate needs to go through the full probate process. If an estate does not have a certain monetary value, it may not need to go through probate. If people do not want their estate to go through probate, there are usually steps they can take to avoid this. People can make sure their spouse is a joint owner of all of their property. This usually makes it possible for property to transfer directly to the surviving spouse. Additionally, people may set up trusts.

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