Probate Attorney in Oklahoma

Estate Planning Q & A With Roberto Seda, Probate Attorney:

What Is It And Why Does Everyone Want To Avoid It?

What is probate? Perhaps, you’ve encountered that term, and have not realized that you may be in need of it. Let’s dive right in to get you started.

Many states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which simplifies the probate process. However, Oklahoma is not one of those states. A regular probate can take anywhere from six months due to the amount of time involved, that usually means it can be really expensive. The only people that benefit from the increased costs are the attorneys.

You want to have experienced probate lawyers on your side to make the process as efficient and timely as possible.

To navigate this intricate process, it is highly advisable to enlist the support of seasoned probate lawyers who can effectively guide you through the intricacies of Oklahoma’s probate system. By doing so, you can ensure that your probate proceedings are conducted efficiently and in a timely manner, ultimately reducing costs and stress associated with the process.

In matters of probate, having experienced legal professionals on your side can make a significant difference in achieving a smooth and cost-effective resolution.


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Has the difficult task of navigating probate after the death of a loved one fallen to your shoulders? Download our free Probate After the Death of a Loved One checklist below! 

Do you want to avoid putting an excess burden on your loved ones and have peace knowing your wishes will be honored? Download our free How Estate Planning Can Help You Sleep Better at Night guide below!

How does someone end up with probate issues?

Long story short; someone dies with assets solely in their name. Even if the deceased had a last will or trust, the assets must still go through probate. This is typically referred to in “legal-eze” as improperly funded assets or property not properly conveyed to the trust.

There was no estate planning. I’m in a probate situation, now what?

Let’s start with the value of the estate:

Will vs. No Will (a.k.a. Testate (Will) and Intestate (no Will.))

  • If we’re talking about assets less than $50,000.00, which is limited to tangible personal property, then it may qualify for a Small Estate Affidavit. If the assets include real property, including surface or mineral interests then either a Summary Administration or full Probate is required.
  • If the total assets are less than $200,000.00, then the estate may qualify for a Summary Administration.
  • If the assets total more than $200,000.00 then a full probate process is required.
  • A Will names who should act as the representative for the estate.
  • A Will gives the probate court and your representative instructions regarding to whom and how you want the assets distributed.
  • Without a Will, the court and Oklahoma state statutes determine who is eligible to be in charge and how your assets will be distributed.

What if the decedent lived out of state and only owned assets like oil and gas mineral rights?

The estate may qualify for a Summary Administration regardless of value.

What if they died more than 5 years ago?

May also qualify for Summary Administration!

Once I get this all straightened out, how do I avoid probate – even summary administration - in the future?

The best way to avoid probate is to make sure that all your property is titled in such a way that it would avoid probate. Examples include joint tenancy, transfer-on-death deeds, life estate, or a trust. However, there are pros and cons to each one.

With a trust, the trust itself holds title to the property. This person does not hold a legal title to his property, his trust does. If the initial trustee (usually the property owner) passes away, the trust agreement should then have a provision to name a successor trustee. This is how a trust avoids probate.

A trust is part of a larger comprehensive estate plan that an attorney can help with. Estate planning with an experienced probate attorney is vital. If your estate assets include real property such as a home or mineral rights, having an experienced attorney firm like the Seda Law Firm create a plan for you is invaluable! Give us a call today or talk to us in person at one of our locations.

There are many options to explore depending on the situation and person. Joint tenancy and a trust are two options to consider. Ensuring that the assets are properly titled and recorded is essential to keeping these assets out of city probate court.

Check out our post on the basics of Estate planning for more information on which avenue is best for you.

Ask an Attorney: Is it really that important to avoid probate?

Often this answer is so dependent on family dynamics. Anytime probates become contested, the time and cost of the probate increases substantially. I have seen probates go on for over ten years! Especially in situations that involve family discord or blended families.

These situations are nightmares for each person affected, and they can be avoided with a properly executed estate plan. If you are in a current situation that may involve a contested probate, we can give you probate advice. Know your attorney rights and options for the fastest, most cost effective resolution to your probate case.

If you would like to learn more about our probate process assistance, check out our FAQ below, fill out our contact form or call us at 405.759.0678.

Your OKC Metro probate law firm,

Roberto Seda

Additional Probate Frequently Asked Questions in Norman Oklahoma

Any attorney will tell you that the cost of probate Oklahoma depends on multiple factors. In this state, probates have filing and publication fees in addition to the cost of probate attorneys. If the administration of the estate requires professional services like hiring a probate lawyer or an accountant or tax professional, then those costs must be added to the cost. Furthermore, there are mailing fees, potential probate litigation costs if there is a dispute, and the personal representative’s fee. Because of the potential high costs of estate planning probate services, it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable probate attorney to get an expectation of possible fees and costs tied to your specific probate case. Click Here For More…

To initiate probate in Oklahoma, you must file a petition with your attorney where a hearing will be set pursuant to the petition. Priority is given to the county in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death. If there is a will (dying testate), the court will determine whether the person had a valid, legal will or not. If a will is found to be valid, an Executor will be appointed to represent the estate throughout the probate process. In this situation, the estate will be distributed according to the testator’s wishes. In cases where there is no valid will (dying intestate), an Administrator is appointed and the estate will be distributed according to Oklahoma law. Click Here For More…

According to Oklahoma law (OSCN 58 Sec. 21), you have 30 days after learning of the decedent’s death to start the process to probate the Will. However, despite the statute, there is no statute of limitations to probate wills.  But, it is advisable to initiate the probate process as soon as possible to ensure a smooth and timely administration of the estate as a delay may open up the personal representative or attorney to some liability. Click Here For More…

Avoiding probate can be achieved through several estate planning tools. One of the most effective methods is establishing a revocable living trust that allows the transfer of assets outside of probate. Other ways are to designate beneficiaries on accounts like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and payable-on-death accounts. Joint tenancy is also a way to avoid probate. However, each of these tools only works if the beneficiaries survive the account owner. For real property, a transfer-on-death deed may be appropriate. Thus, by creating a comprehensive estate plan through revocable living trusts, you can effectively protect assets and minimize the need for probate in the future. Click Here For More…

A probate is required if a decedent died with either (1) real property in their name individually or (2) their estate totaled over $50k. Thus, it’s crucial to get an inventory of an estate as soon as possible so that a determination may be made. Depending on the size of the legal estate, either a full probate process (estates worth over $200,000) or the simplified probate procedure a/k/a summary administration (for estates worth less than $200,000) may apply. Click Here For More…

No, joint accounts, such as joint bank accounts and co-owned properties held via joint tenancy, bypass probate. These assets automatically pass to the surviving account holder or legal co-owner upon the decedent’s death, outside of the probate process. Click Here For More…

Probate in Oklahoma is a legal process that determines (1) the legal heirs, (2) who gets what and in what proportions and (3) the validity of any creditor claims. A probate lawyer can help if you run into probate issues. The probate procedure varies based on whether the decedent had a valid will or not, which your attorney can determine. When a valid will is in place, it allows the decedent to express their wishes regarding the distribution of personal assets, and even naming a guardian for minor children. Essentially, the probate process determines who gets the decedent’s assets after all claims against the estate have been made. Click Here For More…

Both a trust and a will serve essential roles in estate planning. Wills allow an individual to deviate from the default distribution that the State of Oklahoma has imposed on all its citizens. However, as mentioned elsewhere herein, the Will must still go through probate with an attorney. Conversely, a revocable living trust is an entity that is legally allowed to own a person’s assets. As long as all the assets are owned by the revocable living trust, no probate is necessary. Click Here For More…

Although there is a common misconception that a Will helps avoid probate, this isn’t the case for every person. Even if you have a legal will, probate is necessary in Oklahoma if the estate is one that requires to be probated. Additionally, probate initiates the probate creditor statute of limitations, which plays a vital role in resolving any claims against the estate. Click Here For More…

The types of probate in Oklahoma are generally categorized as follows:

  • Full or Formal Probate Process: This procedure is appropriate for estates with assets valued at over $200,000.
  • Simplified Procedure (Summary Administration): For smaller estates worth less than $200,000, the simplified process is often faster and less complicated than full probate.

Ancillary Probate: This can be utilized when the decedent owned property in Oklahoma but did not reside there. However, this option requires that a probate be filed in the home state and that it have been completed. Click Here For More…

The question as to whether a mobile home in Oklahoma must go through probate depends on how it is titled and owned. If the title to the mobile home was relinquished, then the mobile home will be considered part of the real property and it must go through probate. If the title was not relinquished, then it may be possible to avoid probate. Click Here For More…

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