Probate can be both costly and time consuming. What techniques can be utilized as a means of avoiding probate in Oklahoma?
It’s a common question we get in our law office.
The answer to that question is as follows:
- Set up bank accounts with a ‘payable on death’ provision. That way, should the owner of the account pass away: the proceeds of the account can pass to the payable on death beneficiary without the need for a probate action
- Ensure that all beneficiaries to life insurance policies, annuities and retirement plans are up to date. In particular, confirm that the listed beneficiary is a natural person and not otherwise designated as that individual’s “next of kin” (or similar wording).
- Draft and fund a Revocable Living Trust (also known as a ‘probate avoidance Trust’). This is perhaps the finest estate planning avoidance technique of them all.
- Alternatively, have the owner of real estate holdings sign off on a “Transfer on Death Deed” and record that deed for each real estate property held in the County Clerk’s office in and for the County in which the real estate is held.
- As for stocks and mutual funds: contact the corporation’s transfer agent and set the account up with a survivorship provision added to it.
- Hold property jointly with others. Upon the death of one – the property passes to the other without probate.
- Gifting estate assets away while you are still alive is another technique for avoiding probate.
As can be seen from the above: avoiding probate in Oklahoma can be accomplished. Especially is this so with proper pre-planning and with utilization of one or more of the techniques set forth above.