The Oklahoma probate process is difficult to navigate, especially if you’ve never dealt with an estate before. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the countdown timer for how long you have to file probate after a death in Oklahoma. It’s important to brush up on the details of the process, even if you’re not ready to hire a probate attorney or need to file probate yet.
How Long Do You Have to File Probate After Death?
As the custodian of a will, you take on the responsibility to file probate after you learn of the death. You have 30 days to file the probate, and it should be done in the county where the decedent lived, or in the case of out-of-state property ownership, it must be done in the state in which they owned the property.
If you do not file probate within that timeframe, you may be considered negligent in your legal duties to the estate, which opens you up to lawsuits by the heirs. This is particularly true if the heirs incur financial burdens related to the failure to file. Failure to file can also incur legal repercussions if it is purposefully withheld to obtain a false inheritance, which becomes a criminal act. This may occur if the will names someone else as the heir other than the executor, but the executor is the default heir of the estate if the will remains unfiled.
There are always exceptions and special circumstances that can arise during these situations as well, such as if a will is lost, or if you decide not to act as an executor for the will anymore. These actions, however, must be discussed with the court as soon as possible. It is always wise to consult with a law firm that specializes in Oklahoma probate law before taking any action with the will or probate to ensure you are not at risk of legal repercussions.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Probate in Oklahoma?
No, there is no statute of limitations on probate in Oklahoma, which means that the estate can be probated decades after death. It is essential that all filings be submitted to the court properly and timely.
What Requires Probate in Oklahoma?
Probate must be filed in the state of Oklahoma even if there is already a will in place. Probate validates the will and begins a statute of limitations for creditors, setting a time limit for creditors that may have a right to make a formal claim against the estate.
What Happens if You Don’t Probate a Will in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, a probate is beneficial for the will and estate, and following these procedures can protect the financial interests of all individuals and creditors involved in the process. If there are assets in the estate but probate is not possible, the estate can be sued by the heirs or beneficiaries to claim these dues.
How Much Does it Cost to File Probate?
The cost of filing for probate can change based on several factors, including the amount the estate is worth. If you have a small estate, which is characterized as an estate not worth more than $50,000 in property value before real estate, the process is much less complicated, and filing fees are typically reduced, but come to an average baseline of $2,500.
Large estates, which are anything more than $50,000 in property value before real estate, will require a full probate filing with court appointments. During the filing process, there are other factors that the court will consider, such as heirs contesting the way the estate is being handled, or whether the decedent’s taxes have been filed. The more extensive the process, the more the filing will cost in both attorney and court fees. Depending on these factors, filing for probate on a large estate can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000.
Can You Do Probate Without a Lawyer?
You can file for probate without a lawyer or attorney to assist you with the process. That, however, is not recommended unless you are familiar with the filing process and can reliably handle the paperwork on time. Anyone responsible for filing for probate has a duty to take care of the paperwork efficiently and properly as soon as they agree to take on the responsibility.
It’s a big responsibility, however, and there are many benefits to hiring a probate attorney to help you through the process. Not only is Seda Law Firm experienced with probate cases, but you will be one step ahead of the process without worrying about which process to file for and how long you have to submit the paperwork.