Edmond Oklahoma Probate Lawyer

Edmond Probate Executor?

It's a heavy responsibility at a difficult time.  We can help.

Navigating the probate process for a loved one's estate requires an Edmond Oklahoma probate attorney who will work in an efficient and effective manner. If you're an heir, it's possible this is your first encounter with the complexities of settling an estate through probate.

Probate oversees the administration of a deceased individual's estate, ensuring assets are appropriately distributed to rightful heirs or beneficiaries. This critical process validates the deceased's intentions are honored, and their property is distributed as they desired.

Given its complexity and potential duration, the guidance of a probate attorney well-versed in probate law can be invaluable. Such a professional can offer strategic advice, outline their services, and ensure the estate's management aligns with the deceased's wishes. Many attorneys offer an initial consultation at no cost, providing a chance to discuss your situation. The approach can vary significantly based on the existence of wills, trusts, or the absence of any estate planning.

Summary Probate for families in Edmond, Oklahoma

Sometimes a full blown probate that can last months and cost thousands of dollars is not the right answer. We have seen families walk away from their loved one's estate because it would cost more to probate than what the heirs would get. Think about someone on social security living paycheck to paycheck and living in an apartment. When there is no money - there is no money.

Other times a loved might have owned their home, a car and had a few thousand dollars in the bank. If it all adds up to less than $200,000 a Summary Probate might be the way to go. Especially because a Summary Probate generally only takes a couple of months as opposed to 5 to 7 months in a regular probate. This means it also usually costs less money to the estate to administer.

Key requirements for a Summary: 1. Total assets under $200,000; 2. All heirs must agree and consent in writing to a Summary Probate; and 3. Real estate cannot be sold during the probate.

Selling real estate is the one factor that requires many probates that could have been done as a summary to go through the full blown regular probate proceedings. If the family needs to sell the real estate to pay their loved one's debts or just to distribute money than a summary probate will not work.

Regular Probate

Most of the time, handling probates is a detailed process that can take many months or even years to finish, especially if the people involved don't agree on things. Lawyers first check to see if there's a Last Will, a pour-over will, or no Last Will at all. If the person who passed away didn't leave a last will, this situation is known as dying without a will, or dying intestate.

The lawyer will meet with his clients and draft an initial Petition for Probate. If the client agrees with the wording, the law firm will file the Petition with the Oklahoma County Court Clerk. The court will order that the Petition be heard at a future date. Probate lawyers will publish notice of the hearing in the local newspaper and will mail a copy of the Notice of Hearing to all interested parties.

At the initial hearing, the Court will usually make four determinations:

  1. Does the Oklahoma County Court have jurisdiction to hear the matter? If the decedent did not live or have assets in Edmond or Oklahoma County, then the Court might not have jurisdiction. 
  2. Is there a valid last will and testament and should it be admitted into probate? 
  3. Who should be the Personal Representative of the Estate? This is sometimes called the Executor and is usually the person who hired the probate attorneys. 
  4. Who are the legal heirs or beneficiaries of the estate.
Cortes Law Firm Edmond Probate

Once the Court has made these four decisions, it will appoint the Petitioner as the Personal Representative. This person is charged with administering the estate of the decedent. This involves gathering and identifying all assets, settling claims, administering the Estate, and finally distributing what is left to all heirs.

Creditors usually have 60 days from the filing of a Notice to Creditors to file a claim against the Estate. This Notice to Creditors is published in a local newspaper in Edmond, Oklahoma County. It is also mailed to all known creditors of the decedent. If a creditor files a claim against the estate, then the Personal Representative decides if it is valid and should be paid. The claim then must be approved by the Court before any payment can be made.

A general inventory is usually required to list all of the Estate's assets. This list should include real estate, personal property, mineral interests, and financial accounts.

When real estate or personal property needs to be sold to satisfy debts or to make money available for distribution, the Personal Representative will make an application to the Court for authority to sell real estate or dispose of personal property. Earlier I stated that at the first hearing the Court determines the legal heirs of the estate.

Because the judge has made that determination, all the beneficiaries must agree in writing to selling real estate or personal items by the Personal Representative. If they do, then the Executor usually sells the house with a Realtor and deposits the proceeds into the Estate bank account.

Once the the Personal Representative has gathered all the assets, paid and settled all claims, then and only then is the estate ready for closing. This is usually done by filing a Final Account. The Notice of Hearing Final Account is published in the newspaper, mailed to all interested parties, and usually set for hearing 30 days in the future depending on the Court's schedule.

If everything goes perfect a probate will take 4 to 5 months. They never go perfect and generally take 5 to 7 months. If the family starts fighting then it might take several years to complete the probate.