But avoiding probate doesn’t need to be complicated. There are several simple steps you can take to insure that a great portion of your estate passes on directly to your decedents without lengthy complications or expensive legal fees.
Read further to learn the best ways to avoid probate in Muskogee.
Probate in Muskogee
When a person dies, something has to be done with the estate (assets and debts) the decedent leaves behind. Probate, based on the Latin word “probo,” which means to prove, is the legal process of finalizing a person’s estate after they have died. It includes the following activities:
Verifying the validity of the decedent’s will.
Inventorying the decedent’s assets.
Appraising the decedent’s property.
Paying off any debts and taxes.
Distributing the remaining proceeds according to the decedent’s will or Oklahoma intestate law.
Probate is presided over by the executor named in the decedent’s will, and it often requires the help of an experienced probate attorney. Probate in Muskogee typically lasts for several months to a year, and it can be notably expensive and time consuming for the decedent’s survivors.
To ease the burden on their survivors, many people make plans to enable their estates to avoid probate. But this itself can be time consuming and expensive. Whether or not it makes sense for you to make complex probate avoidance decisions will depend on your age, health and the overall size of your estate.
Avoiding Probate in Muskogee
There is rarely any need for young, healthy people to involve themselves in complex plans to avoid probate as they will only have to redo it later on in life to reflect the many changes that will have occurred. Also, if your estate is small enough, you may qualify for Oklahoma’s simplified probate plan, which is available for estates with values of less than $200,000.
On the other hand, if you are older, in poor health, or have a sizable estate, you may want to do whatever you can now to avoid having your estate go through probate in Muskogee.
There are several different ways to avoid probate. Here is a list of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid probate in Muskogee:
When you and your spouse own assets together, the assets will most likely pass on to the other, without going through probate, when the first of you dies. Check to make sure that title is held jointly and in the proper manner in accordance with Oklahoma property law.
Name Beneficiaries for POD and TOD Designations.
POD designations can be added to bank accounts and certificates of deposits in order to have the funds transferred directly to a beneficiary upon your death, thereby bypassing probate. The same thing can be done for securities and mutual funds by simply adding a TOD beneficiary to your brokerage account.
A Revocable Living Trust
Creating a living trust, which is no more complicated than creating a will, is one of the most popular ways of avoiding probate in Muskogee. Once you create the trust, you can hold property in trust without having to relinquish any control and without any tax consequences. Upon your death, the property in the trust can be distributed by the person you name as trustee to whomever you name as beneficiary, without the need of probate. Once all property in the trust has been distributed, the trust will cease to exist.
Probate law is complex and there are a variety of things that can go wrong if you attempt to navigate the law without the help of an attorney. Therefore, as you take steps to avoid probate in Muskogee, it would be in your best interest to draw upon the knowledge of an experienced probate attorney to help you avoid tax and probate consequences and to insure that your heirs inherit as much of your estate as they are entitled to, without lengthy complications and expensive legal fees.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Probate Attorney
If you prefer to contact a Muskogee probate attorney by email, by using the form at the top of this page.