Although it’s advisable for adults regardless of age, wealth, or health to have at least a valid will in place, not everyone does by the time they pass away. Some may even have their wills thrown out during probate court due to a contest, or family members may not be able to find where the deceased kept their will.
When there is no legal will to guide the probate process, Oklahoma’s intestate succession laws take over. These laws are in place to ensure your closest relatives inherit your estate. Who gets what can come down to whether or not you have a living spouse, children, parents, or siblings.
Intestate succession in Oklahoma breaks down in the following ways:
- You are survived by children but no spouse
Your children inherit everything.
- You are survived by a spouse but no children, parents, or siblings
Your spouse inherits everything.
- You are survived by a spouse and children from you and that spouse
Your spouse inherits 50 percent; your children inherit the rest.
- You are survived by a spouse and at least one child from someone other than that spouse
Your spouse inherits half of all property acquired by joint effort during your marriage and the remaining half is equally split among all of your children. Anything else is inherited by your children.
- You are survived by a spouse and at least one parent
Your spouse inherits all property acquired by joint effort during marriage and one-third of the remaining intestate property; your parents inherit everything else.
- You are survived by a spouse and at least one sibling
Your spouse inherits all property acquired by joint effort during marriage and one-third of the remaining intestate property; your siblings inherit everything else.
- You are survived by parents but no spouse or children
Your parents inherit everything your intestate property.
- You are survived by siblings but no spouse, children, or parents
Your siblings inherit your intestate property.
Other Important Intestate Succession Laws
Because families and relationships can be complicated, there are other laws in place to account for such complexity.
Here are a few to give you an idea:
- If you have a half-sibling – someone who shares a mother or father with you but not the other parent – that sibling has the same right to your intestate property as “full” brothers and sisters do. An exception may apply if the property is an heirloom that must pass down through the blood-related family members.
- If a relative kills you and is criminally responsible for doing so, they are not entitled to any portion of your estate or a life insurance policy payout.
- Immigration status has no bearing on intestate inheritance. That means a relative who can otherwise inherit your property may do so whether or not they are a U.S. citizen or legally living in the U.S.
- Advancements on inheritance are subtracted from what your relative can receive upon your death. If you gifted property during your lifetime to someone and intended it to be an advance on their inheritance, the total value of what was given will be subtracted from their share of an intestate property inheritance.
How to Avoid Intestate Succession
For many people, intestate succession is not ideal. They may wish for their loved ones to inherit properly differently than state laws provide. That’s why they should ensure they have a valid will in order so that their wishes can be known when the time comes to probate their estate.
Bundren Law Firm can help if you are currently dealing with probate for a loved one’s intestate estate. Our attorney has many years of experience when it comes to helping people like you reach the best possible outcomes during this complicated time.Scheduling a consultation with us today to learn more about our services. Ger in touch by calling (918) 992-3300 or by submitting an online contact form.