Probate is a term that you may have heard often, but that you are still unfamiliar with. Probate performs an important function in our society, and planning for probate is an essential component of estate planning. Learn in this article everything you need to know about probate in Muskogee.
What is Probate in Muskogee?
In basic terms, probate in Muskogee is the court-supervised process of finalizing a person’s estate after he or she has died. This process entails two basic things:
1. Proving that the person’s will, if he or she left one, is legal and valid.
2. Distributing the assets of the decedent’s estate, which requires:
Taking inventory of the estate.
Appraising the property of the estate.
Paying any unpaid debts and taxes from the estate.
Distributing the remainder of the estate in accordance with the decedent’s will or, where there is no will, in accordance with the law.
How Does Probate in Muskogee Work?
Filing of the Will: The process of probate in Muskogee is not particularly difficult, but it can be expensive and time consuming. It officially begins with a petition to admit your will to probate when the will is filed by the executor(s) you have named in the your will to oversee the distribution of your estate. Once the validity of your will has been proven, an order to admit your will to probate will be issued by the court.
Public Hearing And Swearing in of the Personal Representative: Next, a public hearing will be held to which all persons with an interest in your estate will be invited. Typically, at this time a personal representative, who will be in charge of your estate during probate, must be sworn in.
The state will normally designate whomever you have named as executor in your will as your personal representative, but if you die without a will or without designating an executor for your estate, the state will appoint someone to act as your personal representative. Alternatively, a family member, such as a spouse or adult child, may request to be designated as the official personal representative for your estate.
Inventorying The Estate: The personal representative must then inventory your assets and have them appraised. Not all of your assets will go through probate. Assets such as property that you held jointly with others, property you placed in a trust and assets for which you have designated a beneficiary will bypass probate and pass directly to those entitled to inherit them.
Paying Outstanding Debts and Taxes: The executor must also take stock of all outstanding liabilities and encumbrances on your estate, including any tax liabilities, and notify your creditors that they have 60 days in which to file a claim against your estate.
For complex estates, this part of the probate process can take several months and cannot be completed until the Internal Revenue Service issues a “closing letter” for your estate and a federal tax return has been filed on your behalf and notice of which has been given to the probate court.
Final Accounting: Once all documents have been filed and the 60-day period for filing claims against the estate has expired, the executor must make a final accounting of the estate, which will then be reviewed by the court. If the court approves the final account, distribution of the remaining assets, in accordance with the will, can be made after which the executor is released from his or her duties.
Typically, the whole probate process takes 6 – 12 months from start to finish, and it can cost thousands of dollars in court costs and legal fees. However, depending on the size of your estate, methods can be taken to shorten the length of the process, which will also reduce associated costs.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Probate Attorney
Contact the Muskogee lawyers at the Wirth Law Office – Muskogee for a free consultation today at (918) 913-0725 or call toll-free at (888) 447-7262. If you prefer to contact a Muskogee probate attorney by email, use the form at the top of this page.