Time and time again, when I meet with prospective clients, they want to know how to avoid probate. Some believe a last will avoids probate. You have many choices when you are deciding how to transfer assets to your loved ones after your passing, but if you choose to use a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer your estate is guaranteed to pass through the process of probate. There is a lot that must be handled during the probate process and, depending on the specifics of your estate, it can get rather complicated. Here’s a little more detail about the probate process.
When you draw up your last will, you will select an executor or personal representative. This is the individual who will actually handle all of the tasks involved. In typical cases, these can include satisfying creditors, paying final taxes, having property appraised and liquidated, and readying assets for distribution to the rightful heirs to the estate.
All of the above requires a good bit of business acumen and the ability to source the appropriate professional assistance. There are also procedural nuances to consider with regard to interacting with the probate court. And, if there are challenges to the estate, a new dimension of complexity is introduced. There is also the time element. In our area, it takes 12-18 months on average to complete a probate.
If, after hearing the pros and cons of various estate planning options, you choose a last will, you can understand why it is a good idea to engage the services of a good Oklahoma City probate lawyer to assist you when you are drawing up a will. An intelligent course of action would be to arrange for this same attorney to act as the probate lawyer when your estate is being administered. Your attorney will be very familiar with your case and fully prepared to assist your executor during the sometimes complicated process of probate.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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