If you die intestate and do not have a will to provide instructions about your wishes, you will not have control over who inherits your property. Then, the state of Oklahoma will determine who should receive money and assets that you acquired over the course of your life. So, unless you want the state of Oklahoma to decide who get’s your assets, it is important to create a will. That way you do not die intestate. Yes, when you create a will, you avoid the laws of instate succession. You take some control over your legacy. But, take note. Even with a will, assets titled in your name will go through probate. The will allows you to decide who benefits from everything that you have worked for and you can provide gifts of money and property to friends, relatives, and charities that you support.
Parman & Easterday can provide you with advice on creating a will as well as on creating a more comprehensive estate plan that can help you to achieve other goals you may have for your future and your heirs. Our Oklahoma City estate planning lawyers will help you so you do not die intestate and leave open questions about who should inherit.
Rules for Intestate Succession if You Die With No Will in Oklahoma
If you die without a will, does this mean intestacy rules will determine how your property transfers and who receives it? Not necessarily. There are ways to title assets and plan your estate that can avoid the laws of intestate succession and transfers through probate. For example, if you have created a strategic estate plan and you have transferred property ownership to trusts; or, all of your property is jointly owned (with rights of survivorship), then there may be no property which would transfer through the probate process. However, it can be a major challenge to make sure you have taken care of all of your property. If you have addressed most of your money and assets but there is still some property you haven’t made provisions to transfer, then this property would transfer under intestacy rules if you had no will.
If you die with no will and have not otherwise created a plan to deal with your property, then intestacy laws will be used to determine how your entire estate is distributed. You need to know what the Oklahoma intestacy laws are, as these laws will apply when you die with assets in Oklahoma. If you do not want these rules to apply to your specific situation, you need to create a plan to make your wishes know and to opt out of the default inheritance rules.
Title 84, Chapter 4, Section 213 sets forth the default rules for how property is distributed if you die intestate without a will. The rules vary depending upon what living family members the deceased has. For example, if a person dies without a will:
- A surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate if the deceased has no surviving issue (children, grand-kids, and other direct descendants), and has no surviving parents, or siblings.
- A surviving spouse will inherit all joint marital property and an undivided 1/3 interest in the remaining estate if the deceased has no surviving issue but is survived by parents and/or siblings. The parents and/or siblings inherit everything else.
- A surviving spouse inherits half of intestate property and descendants inherit everything else if there is a surviving spouse and surviving issue AND all of the issue are shared by both the deceased and the spouse (i.e. there are no children from outside of the relationship).
- A surviving spouse inherits half of all marital property and will share the remaining intestate property equally with descendants if the deceased has any surviving issue from outside of the marriage.
- Children, grandchildren or other surviving issue inherit everything if there is no surviving spouse.
- Parents or siblings inherit everything if there is no spouse and there are no children.
- If there are no parents, no surviving issue, and no spouse but there are surviving grandparents, half of the estate passes to surviving paternal grandparents and half passes to surviving maternal grandparents if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the deceased.
- If there are no surviving issue, parents, grandparents, or issue of parents or grandparents, the entire estate will pass to the next of kin. The next of kin will share the estate based on their relationship with the deceased.
- If there are no surviving kin, the deceased’s state goes to the state and is used to support the schools.
If you don’t want these rules to apply, it is up to you to make changes by creating a will or developing a comprehensive estate plan that will avoid the laws of intestate succession and probate.
How an Oklahoma City Intestate Succession Lawyer Can Help You
Parman & Easterday provides assistance to clients so they do not die intestate. We also represent families whose loved one has died without a will. To learn more and to get the help you need, give us a call today at (405) 843-6100 or contact us online to learn more. You can also join us for a free seminar to learn about intestacy rules.