Terri McQueen, Realtor
Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist
OKLAHOMA PROBATE PROCEDURE
The Oklahoma Probate Procedure can be confusing and frustrating for people. An Oklahoma Probate is a civil court proceeding for the distribution of a person’s assets at death. The VERY important difference between dying with or without a Will is how property is distributed. For distributions according to your wishes then you must have a valid Will and proper Oklahoma estate planning. If there is NO Will, then the government makes distributions for you.
The consequence of dying without a Will can be disastrous in some cases. It does not matter whether a person dies with or without a Will, the probate procedure is the same. Oklahoma provides for two types of probate procedures; Regular Probate Procedure, or; Summary Probate Procedure.
REGULAR PROBATE PROCEDURE
The below procedure is what we sometimes refer to as “regular” probate and can take 6 to 10 months on average. However, we regularly have probates that last over a year or longer when heirs fight. Each of these steps will require Notice to heirs and all interested parties by either mailing, publication in the newspaper, or both.
- Filing a Petition begins the Oklahoma Probate Procedure
- Notice of Hearing must be given to all interested parties
- Hearing on Petition naming Personal Representative, Executor, or Special Administrator
- The Court will issue Letters of Administration appointing a Personal Representative, Executor, or Special Administrator
- Notice to Creditors
- If Creditors come forward, then an Order is made allowing payment of their claim
- Release of claim by the any Creditor that made a claim
- Inventory of all assets in the estate
- An Order approving the inventory
- Application and Order for final hearing and distribution to heirs
If property is involved, heirs may be required to sign Waivers allowing the Personal Representative, Executor, or Special Administrator authority to arrange to sell the property, and an Application to Sell, and Order to Sell may need to be filed with the Court.
Oklahoma Summary Probate is available where the total value of the estate is less than $200,000. The Oklahoma Summary Probate only takes a few months. This probate process works effectively when all heirs are in agreement and there are no problems. The timeline is tight. So, if there are issues, then families will sometimes opt for the “regular probate” when there are disagreements or outside circumstances that would require a longer probate procedure.
OKLAHOMA SUMMARY PROBATE PROCEDURE
An Oklahoma Summary Probate Procedure can be a much shorter process than a “regular” probate. The Oklahoma Legislature recently tightened up the schedule by now requiring the Combined Notice to be filed with the Oklahoma Probate Court on the same day as the Petition for Probate. It is possible to be done from start to finish within two months.
REQUIREMENTS FOR AN OKLAHOMA SUMMARY PROBATE
A family can use this special probate procedure if:
- The value of the estate is less than or equal to Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00);
- The decedent has been deceased for more than five (5) years; or
- The decedent resided in another jurisdiction at the time of death.
SUMMARY PROBATE PROCEDURE
- File Petition for Probate
- File Affidavit of Mailing
- Order Appointing Special Administrator & Letters of Special Administration
- Order for Combined Notice
- File Affidavit of Mailing Combined Notice
- Publication of Combined Notice
- Final Account & Petition for Determination of Heirs, Distribution & Discharge
- Final Order Admitting Will to Probate, Approving Final Account, Determining Heirs, Distributing Estate and Discharging Special Administrator
As with Regular Probate, if property is involved, heirs may be required to sign Waivers allowing the Personal Representative, Executor, or Special Administrator authority to arrange to sell the property, and an Application to Sell, and Order to Sell may need to be filed with the Court.
The Combined Notice must be mailed and published within 10 days of filing the Petition for Probate. The Combined Notice must include the name, address and date of death of your family member; the name of the Petitioner; whether or not a Will exists; the name and address of the personal representative; the names and addresses of heirs; the total value of all assets; and the date, time and location of the final hearing.
Objections can be made at any time before the final hearing. In addition, creditor claims must now be made within 30 days of the date the Petition was filed.
OKLAHOMA PROBATE DOCUMENTS
Some of the Oklahoma probate documents needed to start an Oklahoma Probate:
- Original Will. Sometimes the original cannot be located. However, if you have a copy, then contact your attorney immediately. In most cases they can use a copy for probate in Oklahoma.
- Make a list of all creditors. Take a copy of account statements to your attorney’s office. They are required to give Notice of Probate to all known creditors.
- List of insurance agents, financial advisors, etc… Some insurance policies pay funeral costs, so it is important to make contact as soon as possible.
- All surviving family members. This includes spouse and children. If they were not married, then parents and siblings. We will need contact information for everyone.
- Notify the Social Security Administration.
- Cancel their driver’s license and passport,
- Cancel any club memberships.
- Notify the U.S. Post Office.
- List all social media accounts. Some will require a court order and others just require a copy of the death certificate.
- If they had a CPA or tax professional, then notify them.
- Contact their employer. There might be benefits due to heirs.
This is just a short list of the documents needed for probate, and it is not exhaustive. However, the probate process will go much smoother if you can locate some or all of the documents listed above. Some things will need to be done right a way, but remember to give yourself and your family time to grieve.