To Avoid Probate Good Estate Planning Comes Upfront
Video Transcribed: Can you avoid probate in Oklahoma? I’m Oklahoma Probate attorney James Wirth, and that is the question before us, as it relates to estate planning, can you avoid probate? Probate is a legal action where you go to the court and either request that a will be approved and the assets are distributed pursuant to that will, or that there’s no will that you request intestate succession that it follow the rules, the default rules, and the statute on who gets everything. But it can be a costly process, a time-consuming process to go through.
So people generally like to avoid probate, if they can, to distribute those assets more quickly without having to get court approval, a published notice, all of those types of things. So is there a way to do that in Oklahoma? And generally speaking, there is, but requires good estate planning upfront.
Everything needs to be taken care of. And it can be done through, say, having a trust that handles everything outside of probate. It could be just by listing everything on all of those assets. If you’ve got life insurance, make sure that it lists who your beneficiary is on that, so it doesn’t have to go as part of the estate.
If you’ve got a vehicle, then you could list somebody on the title of that vehicle with you with a right of survivorship. If you have real estate, same thing, you can have a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.
Then if you pass away, the property automatically goes to the other person that has joint tenancy. If you want it to go to another person, but don’t want them on the deed while you are alive, you can do a transfer on the death deed to handle that. And for any of the more complicated that go beyond that, you can do a trust.
Also, bank accounts. You can have somebody as a payable on death, on your bank account. Or you could have them as joint on your bank account. Depending on your relationship with the party, it may determine which one is better for you.
But there are a lot of options out there. And for the things that don’t have specific operations under the law to take care of through special deeds, titles, things like that, then you’ve got trust that can handle more complicated situations.
So can you avoid probate? Yes. Is it easy? It can be, depending on your estate. But if your estate is larger, then it’s probably not that easy. You’re probably going to need the help of an attorney to do appropriate estate planning.
But if you’ve got questions about that, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney confidentially about that, get into those details. If you want to get that scheduled with somebody at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.