What is Probate (in Oklahoma)

What is Probate?


Probate is the court process whereby someone is appointed to take control of the decedent’s estate and administer it in accord with the state statutes.  Given that the owner is deceased, no one has authority to control the property of the decedent until the Court grants authority.
(A) Why do we need a probate?
The Court-appointed personal representative will have authority to gather the assets belonging to the deceased person, issue notice to creditors and require the creditors to file their claims quickly or be barred from later collection efforts. The PR may bring lawsuits on behalf of the deceased person.
(B) What is a Personal Representative or Executor?  This is the person whom the Court appoints to hold the power over estate assets.  Must gather the property, gather the bills, file tax returns, and prepare the estate to be distributed by the Court.  This person should be trustworthy, must keep records of the income and expenses of the estate.
Advantages of Probate

Probate, although feared by some, has some important advantages.
(A) You will be able to limit the creditor’s time to make claims, thereby avoiding the chance of a successful lawsuit years after the date of death.
(B) The probate may be necessary in order to pursue lawsuits on behalf of the deceased person. Only the Personal Representative of the Estate can bring certain claims.
(C) There will be court supervision to assure that everyone gets a chance to point out possible problems.  The heirs will get notice of the important court actions and will be able to come to court and file their objections when that is necessary. The Personal Representative will create and file written accountings that will help the heirs know what is happening and what, if anything, they should do.
(D) Even insolvent estates can benefit in probate.  Some creditors will not file claims and will not have to be paid. The creditors who do file claims will be paid in accord with the state law of priorities among creditors and the family will be spared the harassing telephone calls.


Not every family and not every estate should avoid probate.  Call me for a consultation: 405-733-8686


Terrell Monks

Guiding Oklahomans through Estate Planning for almost 20 years

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