Probate is a legal process which occurs after a person has died and some of their titled assets need to be distributed to heirs. This process may also take care of some specific debts of the estate if they were not handled in the Last Will. Under some circumstances, the Court may also be responsible for finding lost heirs to the estate.
An Overview Of The Probate Process
If a person has not completed estate planning before they pass away, their heirs may find it necessary to register the estate with the Court for final distribution of assets. The court will take the following actions to close the estate:
- Make a complete accounting of all debts that need to be paid for the estate. The Court will verify that these debts have been paid and pay any necessary debts from the estate before distribution.
- The Court will make a full accounting of all remaining assets. In most cases, the Court only handles titled assets, such as homes, cars, and some investments. These assets must only be in the name of the decedent.
- The Court will review all known heirs and determine if there are any missing heirs that must be located. If heirs must be located, the Court will begin the search.
- The Court will distribute the assets, minus all Court costs, to the designated heirs and close the case.
The probate process can be a very extensive and very expensive process. However, this process can be avoided with the proper estate planning in place.
Speak With A Tulsa Estate Planning Lawyer
Everyone is encouraged to speak with a Tulsa estate planning lawyer to put the right financial plans in place to protect their family, their assets, and to avoid having the Court system decide who will receive what asset after you have passed away. Estate planning can eliminate many of the costs associated with using the Court to distribute assets, and it can also significantly decrease any tax burden on your family.