Oklahoma probate law affects you in many ways if you are anticipating an inheritance. Probate laws determine what steps must be taken before an inheritance transfers to the beneficiaries. During the probate process, creditors can make claims against the estate. This can reduce the value of an inheritance and result in you inheriting less money than you had expected. The will could be contested during probate. If the will is successfully contested, you could potentially lose the inheritance you thought you would receive.
Even if everything goes correctly during the probate process, you could also find yourself struggling financially as you wait for all of the technical legal requirements of probate to be fulfilled. The law does protect heirs or beneficiaries by making sure that an executor appropriately manages estate assets during the probate process, but it is still a burden for many people to wait for probate to be completed. This is one reason why many people will work with an estate planning lawyer to try to pass assets to heirs or beneficiaries outside of the probate process.
The executor of an estate is responsible for taking care of estate assets during the probate process. The executor has a fiduciary duty to manage estate assets with due care and not to act to enrich himself at the expense of heirs or beneficiaries. A probate attorney can provide assistance on the management of assets during the probate process.
When you probate a will, the process can take a long time. There are also some things which could make probate taken even longer than necessary. Probate could be delayed by an incorrect filing of paperwork. It could also be delayed if there are multiple wills and a determination must be made as to which is the correct one; if the will is contested; if the executor is unable to fulfill his or her obligations during the probate process, or if the estate is an especially large and contains assets that are complicated to probate. Parman & Easterday can help to avoid delays or to ensure that there are as few days as possible so the probate process moves along as quickly as it can.
During the probate process, an interested party can challenge a will, or contest the validity of a will. In order for someone to successfully challenge a will and have the will declared invalid, they must prove that there was a problem when the will was created. There are specific legal formalities and requirements for a will to be valid. If these formalities are not present, the will likely be challenged, further delaying the probate.
A will may also be declared invalid if it was made under conditions of duress, undue influence, or fraud. This would mean that the person who made the will had been somehow coerced or tricked into creating the legal document. Sometimes, as people get older, a caregiver or a new spouse may impose a lot of pressure on that person to alter a will. This could be a case where other family members argue the will shouldn't be valid because the person who created it did not decide freely and of his own accord to make the will. If the person who made the will was not of sound mind at the time when the will was created, this is another example of a situation where the will could be declared invalid.
It is the obligation of the person who is contesting a will to prove why it should be declared invalid. Parman & Easterday can help to prepare solid legal arguments for why a will shouldn't be probated because there was a problem in its creation.
A Oklahoma City probate attorney can provide assistance to those who are involved in the probate process. One of the things that a probate attorney can do is to help an inheritance proceed as fast as possible. An attorney can facilitate the timely transfer of estate assets to new owners by providing advice during the probate process. With help from an attorney, executors can ensure they file the correct paperwork, fulfill their obligations, and move the probate process forward in as timely a manner as allowed by law.
To find out more about the ways in which a probate attorney can help with the probate process in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call today at (405) 843-6100 or contact us online to get personalized advice with all aspects of the probate process.