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Tulsa Probate Lawyer

We Can Help You With Your Loved One’s Final Legal Affairs

When a loved one passes, certain legal matters remain that need to be handled. During this time, emotions can run high, and family disagreements and entanglements can further complicate the process. For managing your loved one's affairs, you need the assistance of a compassionate probate attorney.

At Bundren Law Firm P.C., our Tulsa probate lawyers can provide helpful counsel and representation in dealing with the legal affairs left by your deceased loved one. Our team can help you navigate probate court in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma. In addition, we have assisted estate executors with fulfilling their duties and beneficiaries seeking to contest a will or trust.

We also have experience helping beneficiaries where the deceased does not leave a will. Our law firm in Tulsa has extensive knowledge of Oklahoma's will and intestacy laws. We can help you understand your rights and obligations regarding an intestate estate.

We encourage you to reach out to our firm at (918) 992-3300 to talk with our probate lawyer in Tulsa.

Why Hire a Lawyer for the Probate Process?

We understand that dealing with a loved one’s death is traumatic, and the last thing you need is to face the responsibility of enforcing your deceased loved one’s trust and will. Our probate lawyer in Tulsa can help navigate the process to ensure that the wishes of your loved one are respected.

We provide sound advice and exceptional representation during:

  • Probate proceedings and trials in court
  • Interpretation of wills and trusts
  • Determination of beneficial share and status
  • Challenges and contests to testamentary dispositions
  • Acquisition of testamentary property
  • Protection of testamentary or probate property and assets
  • Will and trust contests and disputes
  • Testamentary capacity issues
  • Issues of undue influence, fraud, and duress

Our attorneys in Tulsa have many years of experience representing our client’s interests in local probate courts. We can use this experience to make the probate process as smooth as possible.

Probating an Estate in Oklahoma

While probate is generally the same in most states, Oklahoma has laws governing inheritance when a deceased person's estate does not include a will and when certain small estates can bypass probate entirely.

How to Avoid Probate in Oklahoma

Oklahoma allows small estates totaling less than $50,000 in value to avoid probate, instead being distributed through the Small Estates Affidavit. This total amount does not include the value of a real property.

Suppose the decedent died without a will or intestate. In that case, Oklahoma laws of descent and distribution will determine how beneficiaries inherit their property.

Oklahoma intestacy distribution laws are as follows:

  • If the decedent is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse receives half of the estate and the remaining half would pass to surviving children
  • If the decedent is not survived by a spouse but has living children, the entire state is equally distributed among those children
  • If the decedent's children are also deceased, but have their own living children, those grandchildren of the decedent will equally distribute what their parent would have received if alive
  • If the deceased person had no living spouse or descendants, the entire estate would go to their parents
  • With no descendants or parents, the estate would go to the decedent's siblings and the children of any deceased siblings
  • With no living siblings or descendants of siblings, the estate would go to the decedent's grandparents and their descendants

Intestacy, Probate & Your Property

The brass tacks of probate are about settling someone’s estate in a courtroom setting, ideally guided by a will. This is the normal course of action whether or not someone died with or without a will, but the latter case can make the process more involved, costly, and provide less agreeable outcomes to a deceased’s descendants.

When no will is in place, the full swing of the state’s intestacy laws comes into play and provides the roadmap for settling an estate. This can be problematic for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is that the distribution of estate assets follows a strict order than can cut out a lot of people the deceased cared about.

Intestacy Distribution in Oklahoma

Intestacy distribution in Oklahoma goes as follows:

  • When there are a spouse and children, half of the estate is awarded to the spouse and the other half passes on in equal shares to the children.
  • If there is no spouse but only children, the estate is equally divided among the children.
  • If there are living grandchildren but the deceased’s children are not alive, the estate is split among the grandchildren according to what their parents would have inherited.
  • If there are no spouse or children, the deceased’s estate passes on to their parents.
  • If there are no descendants or parents, the estate passes on to the deceased’s siblings and their children
  • When no descendants, parents, or siblings are alive, the deceased’s grandparents inherit the estate

For many people, a glaring problem with this order of succession is that it prioritizes certain family members over others, removing the possibility of a friend or charitable organization benefiting from inheritance. With a valid will in place, the stated-mandated order of succession will not have to apply to your estate or that of a loved one.

Guardianship & Intestacy

Establishing guardianship over minor children is a critically important part of settling someone’s estate. Guardianship alone is a good argument for why everyone with children should have at least a will in place even if their wealth is relatively unsubstantial.

When people die intestate with minor children, however, there is no standard law that determines who will care for the deceased’s minor children. Instead, it can be up to the probate judge to assess the fitness of willing relatives of the deceased to care for their children.

This, however, can work against what the deceased would have wished for in life in two ways:

  • Children may end up in the care of a relative the deceased would not have wanted to be granted guardianship
  • Children may end up in foster care if the judge deems willing relatives unfit or unable to assume guardianship

As with the material things of an intestate estate, the law provides limited if not any opportunities for friends of the deceased to become involved probate matters like contesting guardianship. And just as with any probate matter, the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out as faithfully as possible is to make them known by keeping a valid will.

Let Bundren Law Firm P.C. help you during this difficult time.

Contact us online to speak with our probate lawyer in Tulsa and schedule your initial case evaluations. Call (918) 992-3300!

Why Choose Our Tulsa Law Firm?

  • 100+ Years of Combined Legal Experience

  • Personalized, Client-Recommended Service

  • Experienced in Settlements & Litigation Alike

  • All Phone Calls Returned Promptly