Probate Law Firm Oklahoma City, OK
Whether you’re thinking about creating an estate plan for the first time or you’ve recently lost a loved one, it’s important to speak with a probate lawyer Oklahoma, OK residents trust. It’s important to understand what probate is in both proactive (estate planning) and reactive (estate administration) contexts for a few reasons. First, understanding what probate is and how this process could affect the administration of your future estate will help you to make informed decisions about the ways in which you choose to construct your estate plan. Second, understanding what probate is and how this process could affect the administration of your loved one’s estate will help you anticipate the legal challenges that may impact that estate in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Please understand that probate issues vary from state to state and situation to situation. You don’t have to have “all the answers” right now. If you have questions, the experienced Oklahoma legal team at Marty Martin Bankruptcy Law is here to help.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process that is utilized when a will needs to be reviewed in order to verify whether it is authentic and legally enforceable. Each state constructs its own probate practices and protocols. As a result, some states require that every will must be subjected to the probate process, while others only require that probate becomes mandatory when there is a dispute or other qualifying circumstance present. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to connect with an experienced Oklahoma City, OK probate lawyer when planning your estate and/or administering the estate of a loved one. Failure to do so can lead to unnecessary confusion, stress, and financial consequences.
It’s worth noting that the term “probate” is sometimes used to refer to the administration of a will or an individual’s estate if that person passed away before creating a will. It is for this reason that you may sometimes need to pay attention to context clues when reading about probate. While this term is most often utilized to describe the process of “proving” a will, it can sometimes serve as a synonym for estate administration generally.
How much does an executor get paid?
As a probate lawyer Oklahoma City, OK families trust at Marty Martin Bankruptcy Law has explained to clients, an executor is someone who is legally responsible for handling the finances of the deceased, making sure taxes and debts are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries. If the will does not state what the payment is for the executor of the estate, then they may receive a percentage from the estate, such as 5% for the initial $1,000, 4% for $5,000 thereafter, and 2-2.5% of the rest of the estate value. However, the probate judge may permit more compensation for executors who show extraordinary service.
What is the average timeframe for probate to finish?
For the state of Oklahoma, probate will take on average about 4-6 months, but that is usually for simpler estate cases. Other estates may need a year or more to finalize due to delays, such as a contestment of the will. Due to how complicated the probate process can get, it is advisable that those close to the handling of an estate get support from an Oklahoma City probate lawyer. In the most complex of estates, probate may take a few years before an estate is properly distributed and can be closed.
When does an estate have to go through probate?
Most estates in the state of Oklahoma will have to go through probate, that is, unless they meet exception criteria. An estate may qualify for a more simplified approach to probate. Under a streamlined version of probate, an affidavit can be used, which enables a person to obtain access to bank accounts and assets in the decedent’s name. Such a method is available for estates that are valued at equal to or less than $50,000. The second option for a more simple probate process is if the estate is valued equal to or less than $200,000, if the deceased person resided in another state when they passed away, or they died at least five years prior.
Can I avoid probate if I have personal property?
Perhaps the best way to avoid having your estate going through probate in the state of Oklahoma is to put it in a revocable living trust before the estate owner passes away. When you do this and appoint someone to be the beneficiary, the estate is transferred to them without having to undergo probate. Another approach to safeguarding your assets from probate is to have a beneficiary named for them. For instance, many life insurance policies have a beneficiary appointee, similarly for retirement accounts and bank accounts. If you have questions about strategies for protecting your personal property, don’t hesitate to reach out to an Oklahoma City probate lawyer from our law firm now to have your concerns addressed.
Who can help me with information about probate?
You may have friends and family who want to offer you advice about probate, some of it may be accurate, and other insight may not be. What could have been true for another probate case may not be exactly how another is handled. For this reason, it is advised that people rely on an estate lawyer for guidance every step of the way. Your legal team can give you counsel that is applicable for the situation at hand, and answer any questions that you have. If you need help, contact a member of our legal team today!
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you’re constructing or revising an estate plan for the first time or you’re navigating the administration of a loved one’s estate, please connect with our experienced legal team as soon as you can. Once we understand the “ins and outs” of your unique situation, we’ll be able to assess your legal needs and provide you with personalized guidance accordingly. No one should feel like they have to navigate estate planning and/or estate administration matters alone. These legal challenges represent a lifetime’s worth of property and wealth accumulation and should not be treated lightly. Our team will treat your case with the respect and attention it deserves. Please don’t wait – schedule a risk-free, confidential consultation with an Oklahoma City, OK probate lawyer today; we look forward to speaking with you.
Common Misconceptions About Probate
Probate is something very few people look forward to. In fact, the majority of people dread the thought of it. However, there are actually so many misunderstandings about the process. If you’re about to go through the probate process, it’s important to learn the truth. Here are some common misconceptions about probate.
- The probate process always takes years to finalize. One of the main reasons why people dread probate is because they assume the process will take multiple years. They don’t want to wait that long to receive their inheritances. The good news is that probate will rarely take that long. In fact, in many cases, probate doesn’t take longer than a year to complete. However, if someone decides to challenge the will, it prolongs probate.
- Creating a will can help you avoid probate. Just because you have a valid and thorough will, doesn’t mean that you get to skip the probate process. Probate is actually intended to prove that a will is valid. The descendant’s taxes and debts have to be paid before assets can be distributed to heirs. Additionally, a judge must look over the will to make sure it was drafted correctly. If the appropriate procedures weren’t followed, the will may be deemed invalid.
- The probate process is very expensive. A common fear people have about probate is that it will eat up all the assets in the estate. The good news is that this isn’t true. While the probate process does cost money, it’s usually less than 5 percent of the value of the estate. In rare cases, however, probate costs can rise significantly. For instance, if a person contests the will, probate may be more expensive.
- A lawyer isn’t necessary. Some people may avoid hiring a probate lawyer in Oklahoma City, OK to save money. However, this isn’t a good idea. The probate process can involve many complexities, and you want someone with knowledge and experience on your side. A skilled lawyer can guide you through the process and make sure everything goes smoothly.
- Without a will, your assets will go to the government. Fortunately, this is a myth. Although it’s recommended to have a proper will, not having one doesn’t mean your property will go to the government. If you die without a will, your property will go to your surviving spouse. If you don’t have a surviving spouse, it will go to your children.
When Should You Begin Estate Planning?
It is always important to have an estate plan no matter what stage you are at in your life. You want to make sure your loved ones are taken care of, even after your passing. It is important to have a will and other documents in place to make the process easier on the people who you want to have your possessions even after you are gone. Probate can be difficult for your loved ones to go through after your passing. The probate process means that all of your items go through the government and will be taxed. If you have an experienced probate lawyer on your side, like one from Marty Martin Bankruptcy Law, you will be able to navigate through this process to make it the best possible outcome for your family. We often recommend doing certain things before you pass away to make the probate process much easier. Some of these include:
- Giving gifts away while you are still alive. Whether you want to give a loved one a check or valuable items, it does not cost anything to give a gift while you are still around. A gift is something that you want another person to have, even if it takes something away from you. You should give as many gifts as you can, as this makes the process much less complicated. Another benefit to gift giving is that you are able to see the look on your loved ones’ faces when they receive the presents. This can be worth so much more than whatever family heirlooms you get to enjoy for yourself.
- Putting things in trusts. Trusts also typically do not need to go through probate. Speak with your probate lawyer about what type of trust would be best for you to use for your loved ones. He or she may recommend doing a living trust, which can be changed throughout your lifetime.
- Making sure you have the right executor to your estate. This will be someone you can trust to execute your wishes and who will be fair throughout the entire process.
Do not hesitate to enlist the assistance of a probate lawyer in Oklahoma City, OK, like one from Marty Martin Bankruptcy Law, so that you can make sure your loved ones are cared for long after you are gone. Your lawyer can speak in great detail about your wishes and what you want to see happen.
4 Tips For Finding The Right Probate Lawyer
If you are going through the probate process, it may be in your best interest to discuss your situation with a reliable probate lawyer Oklahoma City, OK that families can rely on. Going through the probate process is often a long and complex matter. So it is important to ensure that you find the right lawyer for you. The right match is often going to depend on the circumstances and the characteristics of the clients and the lawyers working together.
You brought together some tips in order to help you find the right lawyer for your situation.
- The Lawyer’s Knowledge
The skills and knowledge of your lawyer is important when going through the probate process. You need someone with a background in estates, trusts, and wills to ensure that they have an understanding of how the probate courts work. You need someone who will be up to date on all the laws and the processes that come with it. This means that finding someone who knows of the current changes is key. Hiring someone that doesn’t understand the process will only end in a difficult time for you.
- The Area of Expertise
You want someone who has experience in probate to handle your case. They should have experience in the tasks and work that come with working with estate matters. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t hire a family doctor to perform heart surgery, so would you trust someone with no experience to handle your probate case. You wouldn’t. You should ask your lawyer about their experience and if they don’t have it, then it is best to move on.
- The Lawyer’s Reputation
Like many other areas, reputation matters. You want someone who has a good reputation to handle your probate needs. The reputation a lawyer has is a good foundation on how they work with clients in and out of the courtroom. They should not only have the legal skills to handle your case, but they should also have the skills to work with you. If a lawyer has a good reputation with their peers and previous clients, the chances are they are good to work with. No one will want to work with someone who is rude or aggressive. Having an Oklahoma City probate lawyer that has a good reputation is key in ensuring your case goes as smoothly as possible.
- Communication Style
You want someone who can communicate with you clearly. There are some lawyers out there that seem to have a hard time getting their point across in plan English. You are going to want someone who can help you understand all the complex legal terms. They should also be able to match your communication style. Are you someone who wants updates frequently or just on the big stuff? Ask how long it will take them to get back to you with a question. If you are finding it hard to reach them, then it may mean they have too many cases on their plate.
If you have any more questions about how to find the right Oklahoma City probate lawyer for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to Marty Martin Bankruptcy Law for more information.