You do not always need a Muskogee lawyer to probate a will in Oklahoma. If you have a small estate, with simple debts or few heirs and nothing contested, you do not need to hire a lawyer. You can go to the district court where the probate will be held and start the process.
Alternatively, should a difficulty arise during any part of the probate process, you can hire an estate lawyer to help with that part. You can then handle the rest of the probate process “pro se” (without an attorney’s assistance).
The court system in Oklahoma is not too difficult, and almost any adult should be able to probate a will without extensive legal assistance.
How to Probate a Will in Muskogee
Here is what you do if you want to probate a will for a small and straightforward estate in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
1. Request the court to be a representative of the estate. You do this by filling out some forms at the court.
You can fill the forms yourself without the assistance of an attorney. If it gets complicated, there are online resources that can help you.
You will answer what, where, when, and why types of questions. You will need a valid copy of the will you want to probate, the original will, or the certainty that there is no will. You can hire an attorney at this stage if you do not understand what is expected of the executor of the will.
2. Notify creditors and legatees. You will be expected to fill other forms that notify those named in the will to receive that to which they are entitled.
You should also find out what debts the deceased owed and find a way to pay those debts. Do note that only property that goes through probate should be used to pay debts.
Unless you cannot determine who the legatees are from the will, you don’t need to hire an attorney at this stage.
3. Transfer ownership of assets to the rightful heirs. This is the easiest part. You transfer ownership of assets to their rightful owners with the appointment of the court.
You will need to hire a lawyer if there are assets with complex ownership issues, or you do not know how to transfer ownership. Assets that may have complex ownership issues include mineral rights, royalties, and businesses.
4. Before transferring assets to the new owners, pay funeral expenses, taxes, and debts (in that order). It is your duty as an executor of the will to ensure that all attempts are made to pay taxes and funeral expenses. Seek legal counsel if the estate is insolvent or if you cannot pay some debts.
5. Show the court that you have done what is expected of you as a personal representative and close the estate. The court will provide a template for you to report all that you have done. Seek counsel only if you have doubts about what you have done. Some mistakes can be very costly to you.
The above process should work for a small and simple estate. However, if you have a complicated estate with numerous heirs and some contested issues, it would be a good idea to seek legal counsel in Muskogee.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Probate Lawyer
Issues can be contested when someone is trying to probate a will in Oklahoma; this can end up having a significant effect on the result of an estate’s administration.
If you have an issue regarding something that is occurring during probate or you want to challenge the validity of a will in which you have an interest, you should speak to a Muskogee probate lawyer as soon as possible.
For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Muskogee probate attorney, call 918-884-7774 today.