The Probate Process in Oklahoma
Whether an individual dies having left a Last Will & Testament or not, the probate process is the same and is governed by Oklahoma Statutes Title 58. The only difference is the individual in charge of the estate is called a Personal Representative (with a Will) or Administrator (without a Will). Both are commonly known as Executors.
In Oklahoma, the probate process begins by filing a Petition and giving written notice to all heirs and/or by publication. At the initial hearing, the judge listens to testimony from the individual requesting to be the Executor, and if qualified, that person is appointed to serve after signing an oath to perform his/her duties to the best of their ability. At the hearing the judge can also make a determination as to who the heirs of the deceased are if requested.
Notice is then given to all creditors of the deceased, by mail and/or by publication. The creditors have 60 days to submit a claim. Any claims received are then approved and paid, or disapproved, by the Executor.
The Executor is required to locate all assets, file an inventory, and at the appropriate time, distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in the Last Will, or according to the statute if no there is no Last Will.
Of course, there are other steps during the process and other documents to be filed, but as a brief overview, this is the process. Assuming there are no complications or other delays, the entire process can be completed within six months.
I have handled numerous probates, both uncontested and contested, during my more than 30 years of practicing estate law, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation and more fully explain the probate process.