Oklahoma probate can be a complicated experience for families. When someone dies with a Last Will and Testament in Oklahoma, everything they leave behind (known as their estate) passes into probate. In probate, a state Judge determines how to divide their remaining possessions and assets amongst their living loved ones. To learn more about the entire process, check out our deep dive here.
The probate process can be expensive and emotionally draining for families when they have just lost a loved one. Fortunately, there are actions you can take right now that will make it easier on your family when they eventually deal with probate for your estate. Here are our 4 ways to help make Oklahoma probate better for your loved ones:
Make an Estate Plan
It is a common myth that if you have an Estate Plan, your estate does not enter probate. In actuality, having an Estate Plan means that the Judge will follow the wishes you created in your Last Will and Testament throughout the probate process. If you do not have a Will, Oklahoma has laws in place that determine what will happen with your things. Working with an attorney to create an Estate Plan puts you back in control of your estate.
Keep It Updated
If you have an Estate Plan, it is important that you keep it up-to-date with any major life changes. If you don’t, people who are not your current family members could inherit from you. Make sure to work with a local attorney to update your Estate Plan anytime you get married or divorced, welcome a new child into your family, change careers, or move states.
Consider a Trust
Unlike items placed in a Will, assets placed into a Trust will skip probate entirely. Since a Trust is managed by an independent third party, anything you put into a Trust will be passed on to your loved ones directly without having estate tax taken out of it in probate. It also will be given to them immediately when you pass away, helping avoid any confusion or financial frustration.
Offer an Explanation
It can help your loved ones if you leave behind an Explanatory Letter or Video where you explain directly your Estate Planning decisions. This way, they will understand that it all came from you – and they will get to hear your voice again in the middle of a turbulent time.
Get the Help You Need
At Pence Law Firm, P.C., we aren’t afraid of an Oklahoma probate. We know how to help families through it as efficiently as possible. We also know how to make preparations during your lifetime so it will breeze by for your loved ones. For help with any Oklahoma probate or Estate Planning matters, contact Pence Law Firm, P.C. today! We offer customized, professional, and powerful representation.