Probate Process: A Guide for Executors
The probate process follows a very specific set of guidelines. The court requires that each and every step is followed exactly to ensure that all laws and regulations are met when closing an estate. Regardless of size, everyone who goes through this process must follow these same guidelines.
A Quick Look At The Probate Process
- Establishing Executor. The executor is chosen in the Will and must file with the Court that they are assuming these duties. If there is not an executor, the estate must request that the court appoint an administrator to settle the estate.
- Gathering of Assets. All the assets that have not been titled to another person must be accounted for to create the actual estate. This includes all financial accounts and valuables, such as artwork, jewelry and other similar items. Appraisals must be made and a full accounting must be completed.
- Paying Debts. The executor must pay all final expenses including taxes on the estate. This may also include medical bills and other debts. All debts must be paid before any assets can be distributed.
- Finding Heirs. If the heirs are not listed in the Will, they must be found so that the assets can be distributed. The state has a specific guideline on who is considered a rightful heir.
- Distributing Assets. Once all heirs are notified and any disputes are handled, the assets must be distributed.
This can be a very lengthy process. In most cases it can take almost a year to close an estate, especially if assets need to be sold or heirs need to be located.
Avoiding The Probate Process
The simplest way to avoid all of this paperwork and problems is to work with a Tulsa estate planning attorney. Your attorney can create a plan for your assets that will easily distribute them after your passing without the need for court intervention.
Additionally, your Tulsa estate planning attorney can also make sure that your assets are managed in a way that reduces any tax burden your estate may have and easily transfers assets to your chosen heirs.