Midwest City Oklahoma Probate

It's a heavy responsibility at a difficult time.  

We can help.

Midwest City OK Probate Attorney

Probate law is a complex and often misunderstood area of the law. If you are in need of an experienced probate attorney, call our office today.

Steve Cortes has provided legal services for over 22 years to clients in Midwest City and the surrounding areas. 

Our goal is to provide personalized service that meets your needs with integrity and honesty. Call the Cortes Law Firm today at 405-213-0856 for more information about how we can help you with your estate plans or any other issues related to probate law.

You need to focuses on the legal process for the distribution of a person's assets at death and a probate attorney can help. They can be used to assist with estate planning and will preparation, as well as the administration of estates after someone has died.

These probate attorneys are also skilled at handling any disputes that may arise during this process and can offer advice about what steps need to be taken next.

A probate lawyer will help you identify who should serve as executor, how property should be distributed, liquidating assets, paying taxes on inherited property, resolving creditor claims or objections to wills or trusts -- all while complying with state laws.

Without a will, the probate process in Oklahoma is very similar to how it would work if you had one. The only difference being that inheritances are distributed according to intestate succession laws instead of by testamentary dispositions like wills.

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Summary Probate

There are generally two types of probates here in Oklahoma. One is called a summary probate and the other for well lack of a better word is a regular probate proceeding.

Oklahoma has specific requirements for summary probate and this procedure cannot always be done or always be used because those requirements must be met. A summary probate can be used when the total assets are under $200,000 here in our state of Oklahoma and it takes a minimum of 45 days to complete. These requirements can vary and not every state in the United States has the same summary procedures.

Depending on the Court's calendar summary probate in Oklahoma is usually completed within a couple of months most likely 50 to 60 days it can be a great alternative when the estate is small, real estate does not need to be sold, and all of the family is getting along.

That's important because in order to file the initial petition for a summary probate all of the Heirs must agree in writing to move forward with a summary probate. If just one person - one brother or one sister disagrees then the probate cannot proceed as a summary probate.

The big issue is that real estate cannot be sold during a summary probate. This is because in a summary probate the legal heirs are not determined 'till the end of the process. In order for Real Estate to change hands there has to be legal parties who can agree in writing to the sale. 

If a court does not determine the legal heirs until the end of the probate then no one has the authority during the probate to legally sign for that property to be sold to somebody else.

Summary probate is a great tool in special cases where the estate is small, there is not going to be any litigation from the family fighting, and the real estate does not need to be sold during the process.

Regular Probate

If there is a last will in Testament, a pour over will, or there's no last will at all, the lawyer will draft an initial petition for probate just like in the summary probate.

Once the client agrees with the writing, then the law firm will have them sign the petition and will file that petition for probate with the court clerk. The judge will order that the petition be heard at some future date usually 30 days into the future.
Probate lawyers will also 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 court have have jurisdiction to hear this matter if your loved one did not live in or have Assets in that county then that County District Court may not have jurisdiction if your loved one had a house and lived in that county then that County Court probably has jurisdiction
2. is there a valid last will in Testament and should it be admitted into into the probate process
3.who should be the personal representative of the estate the executive or personal representative is usually a family member and is the person who usually hires the probate attorneys to file the probate
4.who are the legal heirs to the estate these are sometimes the beneficiaries the judge will issue an order stating exactly who those legal heirs are this is important because these legal heirs now have the legal authority to consent to the sale of real estate during being sold during the probate. it's also helpful to know whether the estate is going to be split four ways or three ways.

Once the court has made those four determinations it will usually appoint the petitioner as the personal representative, sometimes called the executor just depending on where you live.

This personal representative is charged with administering the estate of your loved one. This involves gathering and identifying all the assets, settling claims, administering the estate, and finally Distributing what is left over to all of the heirs.

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Depending on your state, creditors usually have 60 days from the filing of the notice to creditors to file a claim against the estate.
If a creditor files a claim against the estate then the personal representative decides if it is valid and whether or not it should get paid. That claim then must be approved by the court before any payment can actually be made.

Next is a general inventory that lists all of the estate's assets. This list usually includes what is in the estate such as personal property mineral interest real estate and any Financial accounts.

When Real Estate or personal property needs to be sold to satisfy debts or to just have money available for distribution the personal representative will make an application for permission to sell.

Earlier I stated that the court determines the legal heirs of the estate at the initial hearing. Because the judge has made that determination, all of the beneficiaries have the legal author authority to consent to the sale of real estate or personal items by the personal representative. They must give the personal representative their permission.

If they do then the executor usually sells the house with a realtor and deposits the proceeds of the money into the estate bank account. This is a separate estate account, and not the bank account that your loved one had during their lifetime.
Once the personal representative has gathered all the assets paid and settled all the all the claims then and only then is the estate ready for closing. 

Avoid Probate in Midwest City Oklahoma

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The best thing you can do is to simply plan. Then review your estate plan on a regular basis. I like to meet with our clients at least once a year to see if there have been any major changes in their life. Events that might not seem important to you, might be a red flag for your estate planning attorney.

Keep your assets titled correctly to ensure that they will not go through probate. If you have a revocable living trust, then make absolutely certain that it has been funded correctly. 

The biggest mistake people make is having a trust drafted, they sign it, and then forget about it. A Trust is a living document that must be reviewed on a regular basis.

Consequences of not Probating your loved one's estate

The biggest consequence of not probating an estate is having to untangle real estate decades after someone has died.

AS AN EXAMPLE: If grandma died in the 1980s and her daughter just kept living in the house, it does NOT mean daughter is the owner of the house.

If grandma had five (5) children, they are all potential heirs to that house. If those five kids also had five kids then there are potentially twenty-five (25) heirs to grandma's house. Huge headaches are created when any of those kids or grandkids die before receiving their share of grandma's estate.

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