Whenever you lose a loved one, probate is the last thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately, for many families, it becomes part of the grieving process. Having an idea of what to expect can make it easier on everyone. Here are three things you may not know about probate.
Wills Do Not Avoid Probate
We have all seen the movies: a person passes away, and then the family gathers at the attorney’s office for a reading of the will. If all goes well, the estate is divided according to the deceased’s wishes. In reality, things are not so simple. You can think of a will as instructions to the probate court on how to distribute the property of the deceased. However, it is up to the probate court to determine whether a will is valid and how to enforce it. Therefore, even if the deceased left a will, probate is still necessary.
Probate is a Public Process
Unlike the reading of a will in the movies, where only the family is present, probate is a highly public process. First, everyone with an interest in the estate must be notified of the proceedings. What’s more, the Personal Representative of the estate must publish a series of notices in the local newspaper. Lastly, in the digital age, Oklahoma’s court records are available online. All of this means that the details of a deceased person’s estate, from how much money they had to who inherits, are readily accessible to the general public.
It Is Expensive and Time-Consuming
Probate is expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000.00 to $10,000.00. Regarding the timeline, even utilizing certain summary procedures for small estates under Oklahoma law, it is virtually impossible to complete the process in less than 2 months. More typically, it takes 6-7 months. Consequently, there is a substantial delay in the heirs receiving their inheritances.
Bottom Line: Avoid Probate
As you can see, probate is less than desirable. Thus, it is best to avoid. How, you may ask? The answer is a revocable living trust. Click on this link to learn more: http://www.tylerrbarrettlaw.com/2017/12/living-trusts-the-gift-that-keeps-giving. Or speak with an Oklahoma estate planning attorney.