Many Oklahoma residents know how important it is to have their estate planning documents in place. But, for those who haven't taken the time to create a will yet, it may be a good idea to understand what happens if you die without a valid will.
When person dies in Oklahoma, many times their estate will go through probate. It is during this time that the estate is settled under court supervision. In general, once an estate has a personal representative assigned, they are able to gather the estate's assets and creditor information.
When Oklahomans hear of "probate," they may immediately think of a big fight involving a loved one's will. While the term "probate" has a bad connotation for some, the term actually refers to the legal process that most estates, will or no will, have to go through before property can get legally transferred to a deceased person's heirs.
In our country today, it is not at all uncommon for a person to live and, ultimately, die as a resident of one state while having property in several states, including Oklahoma. Assuming the property involved requires estate administration and probate, it may mean that a personal representative in another state may have to complete an ancillary estate proceeding here in Oklahoma.
If you feel overwhelmed by your duties as the executor of an estate, you are not alone. Executors often feel unsure of how to proceed with probate, especially in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one.
Most people in Oklahoma understand the importance of a will to protect their estate when they pass away. A will is an important document that every person in Oklahoma should have. But there are other estate planning documents that may be needed, including a revocable living trust.