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You need to know the overall timeline of probate and have an understanding of how the process will move and what the duties that are placed on you entail. This process will always start with either searching for a will or, if there is a will, reading it and interpreting it. The next step will be identifying the person or persons who will be in charge of administering the estate. If there is no will, then it is typically by order of preference; a surviving spouse has the highest preference, followed by the children of the decedent, followed by the parents of the decedent and siblings. So, there is an order of priority for who can serve as the administrator of an estate.

The next thing you need to know is what assets were owned by your loved one and how they were owned. Getting a good idea of the inventory of the estate is a crucial part of the process so that all of the heirs can be informed as to what is subject to the estate and prevent any property loss or things like that.

The next vital piece of information for a loved one would involve any piece of real property; a decision has to be made as to whether the property will be sold during probate or if it will be transferred out to the heirs. This decision is usually swayed by whether or not the person who is deceased had many creditors. If the decedent had several creditors that are looking to make a sizeable claim against the estate, then the house may have to be sold in order to cover any debts of the estate. In general, under Oklahoma law, distributions will not be made from the estate until all creditor claims have been paid in full and satisfied.

Why Is It Critical To Hire An Experienced Oklahoma Probate Attorney To Guide Us Through Probate Matters?

It’s critical to hire an experienced Oklahoma County probate attorney to have somebody who knows exactly what is required to get you through the process. I have personally dealt with over 40 cases in Oklahoma County, so I know the judges and the bailiffs and the staff, plus the documents that are going to be required to get you through the process. I can tell you the timeline of how long it will take for you to get hearings based on each judge’s calendar and docket.

What Is A Living Will? Why Do I Need One?

The living will, or the advanced healthcare directive, is a document that comes into play when you can no longer give informed consent for medical care. This document is intended to protect you and preserve the decisions that you have made while you are of sound mind. It can also instruct healthcare providers on the type of treatment or care that you would like to receive when you are near the end of your life.

In general, the advanced healthcare directive comes into play in three circumstances: when a person is terminal and not expected to live more than six months, when they are incapacitated due to a vegetative state and/or coma, and when they have lost the ability to reason due to diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Under these three circumstances, if a person cannot respond to a question by a doctor with a response of yes or no, whether verbal or by blinking their eyes, then an advanced directive for healthcare will come into play and the healthcare staff will follow the terms of that document.

What Is An Advanced Healthcare Directive In Oklahoma? Does Everyone Need One?

The advanced healthcare directive is also known as the living will. Everyone should have one on file in the event that they cannot give informed consent to doctors.

What Is A Durable Power Of Attorney For Healthcare In Oklahoma?

A durable power of attorney for healthcare is also known as a medical power of attorney. In Oklahoma, this document appoints a medical proxy, a person who can receive information from a doctor on your behalf and ultimately make decisions for your medical care based on that information. This individual is in charge of ensuring that you get the proper treatment and care. This very important power is often highly specialized, and I encourage people to discuss their wishes regarding their medical treatment with the person that they would appoint as a medical power of attorney.

Can I Assign Someone To Make Financial Decisions On My Behalf Should I Become Incapacitated In Oklahoma?

You can assign an attorney in fact, or an agent, who is authorized to make financial transactions on your behalf with a durable power of attorney under Oklahoma law. There are two types of durable powers of attorney, and the difference is when they go into effect. The immediate power of attorney goes into effect immediately upon signing, and the individual named as the agent can act under the authority of that document immediately.

There is also a springing durable power of attorney. The springing durable power of attorney will spring into effect upon your incapacity or inability to make sound financial decisions. You can actually set the terms for what qualifies to make the document spring into action.

Between the two, the most common type is the immediate power of attorney. If you are going to trust someone to make financial decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated, then you probably trust them right now, as well.

For more information on Probate Process in the State of Oklahoma, a free initial consultationf is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 455-3599 today.

Chase Grant, Esq.

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