Probate is the legal process required for estate administration. The probate court supervises the administration of your estate when you maintain personal possession of your property and arrange for its distribution via the terms of a simple will. It operates primarily on property you had titled in your individual name.
This process can be time-consuming, and there are a number of different expenses that can present themselves during probate. For this reason many people choose to implement probate avoidance strategies.
One of these would be the creation of a revocable living trust. You name a trustee to administer the funds titled in the trust’s name after your passing and beneficiaries who would receive distributions.
These monetary distributions would not be subject to probate.
While probate is going to be a factor for most successful people, those who are in possession of limited financial resources may be able to pass along property outside of probate altogether or through the utilization of a simplified probate procedure.
In Oklahoma if the estate in question is worth less than $20,000 a simple affidavit can be used to claim the estate after a ten day waiting period.
Simplified probate is also a possibility for some people. The executor or executrix can contact the probate court to request simplified probate if the estate that he or she is administering is valued at less than $150,000 ($175,000 beginning November 1, 2013).
Whether your estate is large or small, the best way to be certain that you are acting appropriately would be to discuss your unique situation with a licensed estate planning attorney. After you take this step you can move forward with a tailor-made plan that is ideal given your unique situation.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday