What is probate and what process is involved in prosecuting such a legal action? This is a common question that we get as probate attorneys.
Probate is the court proceeding that is held once an individual passes away. The purpose of probate is to take the decedent’s name off the title to assets that he/she owned during their live time and transfer ownership of those assets to their heirs/next of kin.
The steps involved in the probate process are as follows:
One. Filing a Petition for Probate of a Will.
Two. Setting that petition for hearing before the Court.
Three. Upon hearing the matter: the Court appoints a Personal Representative of the Estate.
Four. Next, the heirs/next of kin of the departed are determined by the Court and entered into an Order.
Five. Letters Testamentary are issued to the Personal Representative of the Estate.
Six. Notice to Creditors is filed giving creditors of the Estate notice of the pending probate action.
Seven. The Personal Representative files a General Inventory and Appraisement of all the property (real and personal) left behind by the Deceased.
Eight. In cases where it is called for: a federal estate tax return is filed and a IRS tax release obtained.
Nine. All bona fide creditor claims filed against the Estate are paid.
Ten. An interim and then a final accounting is prepared and filed listing all income that has come into the Estate as well as documenting all Estate expenses
Eleven. A hearing is held on issuance of a Final Decree of Distribution.
Twelve. Upon entering a Final Decree: The Personal Representative of the Estate distributes the assets of the Estate to the heirs/next of kin of the departed
Thirteen. Receipts of Distributive Share are obtained from all parties and/or persons who received a distribution out of the Estate.
Fourteen. The probate Estate is officially closed and the Personal Representative of the Estate discharged of his and/or her duties.
There you have it – the probate process in Oklahoma – start to finish.