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What Is Probate?

Probate is a court-supervised legal process for transferring control of a deceased person’s probate assets to named heirs or legatees (established in their will). The Oklahoma probate process will take place in the district court in the county the deceased person lived. Note that if the deceased person did not have a will, their estate will be distributed according to Oklahoma’s laws of descent and distribution (generally in the order of closest relatives to extended family).

Probate will involve a personal representative, either appointed by the court or named in the will, handling the following duties:

  • identifying, taking possession, protecting, and conserving all the real and personal property of the estate;
  • receiving and collecting all rents, payments, and debts of the estate;
  • determining the names, ages, residence, and degree of relationship of all the potential heirs;
  • paying any outstanding debts (including taxes); and
  • distributing the property to the proper parties.

Trust an experienced Pawhuska probate lawyer with your estate. Contact Shoemake Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a free initial consultation for more information. Call (918) 380-3444 today.

Put 75 Years of Combined Experience on Your Side

Since our doors first opened in 1947 we have been committed to providing a friendly and professional environment for our local clients. Schedule a free initial consultation with Shoemake Law Firm to learn more.

Is Probate Required?

Probate is necessary for protesting the property of the estate and paying off debts and taxes the deceased person left behind. It is also important for transferring title to the property if the deceased individual was the sole owner. However, not all property needs to go through probate. Oklahoma differentiates between probate property (must go through probate) and nonprobate property (does not need to go through probate):

  • Probate property – includes any property owned by the deceased person in their name alone that does not have a named beneficiary (e.g., bank accounts or real estate property linked only to their name)
  • Nonprobate property – property held in a trust, property held in joint tenancy, life insurance, retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k), IRA), pay-on-death (POD) bank accounts, transfer-on-death (TOD) securities accounts

Small estates worth less than $50,000 also do not need to go through the formal probate process and can be distributed through a simplified process according to the Small Estates Affidavit. An experienced probate attorney can better explain this option and whether your estate must be probated or not.

Our Experienced Pawhuska Probate Lawyer Can Help

Hiring an experienced Pawhuska probate lawyer is essential when navigating the complexities of the probate process in Oklahoma. Probate, the legal process of administering an estate after someone's passing, can be daunting and challenging for individuals unfamiliar with its intricacies. Here's why you should consider hiring our seasoned Pawhuska probate lawyer:

1. Legal Expertise: An experienced probate lawyer is well-versed in Oklahoma probate laws, rules, and procedures. They can ensure that the estate administration process complies with all legal requirements, minimizing the risk of costly errors.

2. Efficient Estate Administration: Probate lawyers understand how to streamline the process, reducing delays and ensuring the prompt distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

3. Dispute Resolution: In case of disputes or challenges to the will or estate, a probate lawyer can provide guidance and representation. They have the skills to mediate or litigate, if necessary, to resolve conflicts.

4. Asset Valuation: Properly valuing assets is crucial in the probate process, as it determines tax implications and asset distribution. An experienced attorney can navigate complex asset valuation, including real estate, investments, and personal property.

5. Creditor Claims: A probate lawyer can manage and assess creditor claims against the estate, ensuring that valid claims are paid while protecting the estate from invalid or excessive demands.

6. Tax Matters: Handling estate taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes can be complex. An experienced lawyer can guide you through these tax matters, potentially saving the estate money.

7. Peace of Mind: Hiring a probate lawyer provides peace of mind during a challenging time. It allows the executor or personal representative to focus on grieving and supporting loved ones while leaving the legal intricacies to a professional.

Shoemake Law Firm, PLLC has a combined 75 years of experience resolving legal matters for clients in Oklahoma. Who better to handle your estate than a local lawyer? Whether you have questions about the probate process, a will or trust, or property that might not need to be probated, Shoemake Law Firm, PLLC can help. Simple estates conventionally take 6-12 months, so it is in your best interests to hire a lawyer to guide you through the legal steps.

Contact Shoemake Law Firm, PLLC for a free initial consultation to discuss your probate matters in more detail. Serving clients in Washington County and Nowata County. Call (918) 380-3444 today.

Why Choose Shoemake?

  • Local Knowledge
    A lifelong Oklahoman, Bransford H. Shoemake was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1982 and has practiced in the state ever since.
  • Client Focus
    We provide a friendly and professional environment with an acute focus on our clients’ needs and a desire to build long-standing relationships with our clients.
  • Extensive Experience
    We are committed to quality legal work and bring a deep and nuanced understanding of the law to each case.

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