Oklahoma Probate: Questions & Answers

Part of my law practice is dedicated to helping people with Oklahoma estate planning. 

One component of that estate planning is helping people set up their estate to avoid Oklahoma probate.  Sometimes, however, probate is necessary, and below is some information on Oklahoma probate.

What is Oklahoma probate?
Oklahoma probate is the process of a court administering the estate of someone who dies to determine:
1. What property the person owned.
2. What debts the person had.
3. Who is entitled to receive the property.
Ultimately, in a probate case, the court enters an order that transfers the property owned by the person who died to the people who are entitled to receive it.   You can read more about Oklahoma probate in this blog post.

What types of property require an Oklahoma probate?
Typically, the following types of real and personal property require probate when they are not set up upon a person’s death: (a) mineral interest, (b) life insurance (c) accounts with no beneficiary, and (d) real property.  You can read more about the types of property that often lead to an Oklahoma probate in this blog post.

Does having a last will and testament help you avoid Oklahoma probate?
No. A Last Will and Testament does not do anything to avoid a probate case when the property at issue is real property.  A Will is the written expression of a person’s desires for how their property will be passed on following the person’s death.  A Will cannot, however, change the title to real property.  For an example of this issue, check out his blog post.

What is the Oklahoma Summary Probate process?
Summary probate is a shorter, quicker version of full-blown probate. Rather than there being two hearings in front of the Judge, there is only one hearing at the end of the process. To give you an idea of what to expect, below is a diagram of how the Oklahoma summary probate process usually flows through the court:

Summary Probate

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."