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Oklahoma City Probate: Common Myths and Misconceptions

Let’s face it: most people don’t know anything about wills, trusts, and probate. And it’s perfectly normal. Most of us don’t necessarily encounter these legal terms. However, almost everyone will eventually have to deal with them, so, it’s best to know what they stand for. Yes, they are not topics you would discuss at the dinner table, but you have to know the basic idea behind these terms. For instance, not knowing what they are about will make people hesitant and gullible. Myths and misconceptions are common in this legal area, and it’s important that you know them and avoid believing in them. Ideally, you should talk to a good probate lawyer in Oklahoma City and get in-depth information about this topic.

Let’s see some of the most common myths and misconceptions about wills and probate:

I am too young for any estate plan

This is often coming from young people, but middle-aged people can also believe this. The truth is that estate plans are ideal for young people. They are better than a will or a trust, as estate plans include special authorization for release of medical information, a power attorney and an advanced directive. You can get more information about estate plans for young people from your probate attorney in Oklahoma City.

Similarly, if you have children, or plan on having them, an estate plan is your best choice. If an estate plan is enforced, you won’t leave these important matters in the hands of a judge. You will be able to choose a legal guardian for your children if anything happens to you. Also, the assets can be managed to your child’s benefit.

I am not rich enough for an estate plan

This is a common misconception. Estate plans are for everyone and they can be adapted to any person, no matter what their assets amount to. It doesn’t matter if your estate is large or small – you get the opportunity to control who gets it and how it is managed, according to your specifications. If you don’t have an estate plan, your assets will be probated and they will be distributed according to a judge’s decision.

Estate plans are only used to distribute assets

Yes, distributing assets is a major aspect of estate plans, but that’s not everything they do. Estate plans also deal with your relationships and family. They determine how the ones that are dependent on you will be treated. For instance, you can name a legal guardian for the children or decide how you will be treated in case you are incapacitated. Estate plans create peace of mind – you know that your loved ones are in good hands.

With no will, your assets will go to the state

If you die and there is no will, the assets will be distributed according to state statutes. The state will look for your relatives and start the distribution process. The first ones are your spouse and children. If there are no relatives, the state receives the estate (this rarely happens, however).

I already have a will, my estate shouldn’t go into probation

Your case will go into probate proceeding if there is a will when you die. The will must go into probation to allow the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. Wills must be filed with the court, where they become public record and they are open to inspection to anyone. The probate proceedings can become very lengthy and can take more than six months in special cases. Talk to your probate attorney in Oklahoma City to get more information on this topic.

Probation takes several years

Probation proceedings can take a lot of time, but this depends vastly on a number of factors. Delays are time mandated by state laws. These laws help creditors get their money back and provide enough time for various hearings and documentation. After the waiting period is over, the estate can be closed. This only happens after the beneficiaries and the creditors have gathered their assets and the debts and the taxes have been paid in full. This process can take several months, up to a year.

Yes, these factors will extend the whole process, but other factors may further extend this process. For instance, family arguments, other legal issues, ongoing income, debts, insurance issues, creditor claims, lawsuits, selling and buying real estate, rental properties, and judicial errors can further extend the probation process. Make sure you contact a probate lawyer in Oklahoma City to help you during this phase.

I don’t need a probate attorney in Oklahoma City – no one will contest the will

While this sometimes is true, there are few wills that go uncontested. Legal and financial issues may occur and your will might be contested. In order to avoid this, you must make sure you work with a good probate lawyer in Oklahoma City in order to create the best will, according to your needs.

The will must include a notification to creditors of your death and settle any debts that may exist. From the remaining estate, the beneficiaries will receive their share. The will must include the way the assets are distributed and who gets what, in every situation. An experienced lawyer will help you and guide you through this step in order to avoid any legal issues that may occur after you die.

I don’t need an estate plan – I won’t leave assets to my spouse

People can decide to not leave any assets to their partner. However, if a person is now in a second marriage, certain provisions are often made to children that are from the previous relationship. In this case, an estate plan is required, as it simplifies the process tremendously.

In some cases, if the deceased spouse left nothing in the will to the remaining spouse, the remaining spouse can take an elective share of the estate. This action is known as taking against the will and its rules vary, depending on each case. The state will determine the assets given to the remaining spouse depending on various factors, such as age, health, and economic opportunities or the length of the marriage.

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