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Oklahoma City Probate Lawyer


Probate is the process of “proving” and administering a will after someone dies, or administering an estate according to Oklahoma law, if the deceased person did not have a will. Probate proceedings can be complex and time-consuming, with sometimes-onerous filing requirements and timeframes of which must be strictly adhered. While the process can seem frustrating, these steps must be followed so the deceased person’s assets can be distributed to heirs and devisees.


If you were nominated as the personal representative in a loved one’s will or need assistance administering the estate of a loved one who died without a will (“intestate”), a probate attorney can help. Hiring a probate lawyer in Oklahoma City can make the process easier, giving you confidence that all requirements will be met.


What Is Probate?


When a will or estate is probated, the court seeks to ensure the estate is administered according to Oklahoma law and according to the deceased person’s wishes, if those wishes were memorialized in a last will and testament.

Probate typically involves several steps:


  • Inventorying the deceased person’s assets

  • Safeguarding assets during administration

  • Paying valid debts and claims

  • Preparing tax returns and paying income and/or estate taxes

  • Identifying heirs and devisees

  • Distributing assets to heirs


In some cases, probate involves handling creditor disputes or disputes among heirs/devisees. These issues must be addressed and resolved before assets can be transferred to heirs.


Why Hire an Experienced Probate Lawyer?


If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, having to go through a court proceeding to administer the estate can be overwhelming. Hiring a knowledgeable, skilled probate court attorney can make a stressful process a little easier.


Your probate attorney will handle all the complexities, including ensuring all required paperwork is completed correctly and is filed in the right place — on time. Your family probate attorney will also help you understand what to expect from the process, will answer your questions, and will be a resource for you from start to finish. In the event a will contest arises while your loved one’s estate is being probated, experienced probate litigation lawyers will create strategies to address the matter based on the specific facts and circumstances.  


What a Probate Lawyer Does


An estate probate attorney’s primary role is generally representing the personal representative in his or her role administering the estate of a deceased person, or representing an heir or beneficiary of estate assets as an inheritance lawyer.


In representing a personal representative, attorneys’ probate services typically involve preparing and filing forms with the court; communicating with claimants and heirs/devisees on behalf of the personal representative; assisting with inventorying and appraising assets; and advising the personal representative on his or her responsibilities as a fiduciary for the estate.


When representing an heir or beneficiary, a contested probate attorney will seek to establish and prove his or her client’s right to receive the estate assets the client believes he or she is entitled to receive. Probate litigation lawyers will argue their clients’ cases in court and provide evidence designed to help clients obtain their fair shares of inherited assets.

Probate Process


The probate process is not automatic in Oklahoma. Often, someone trying to obtain or transfer a deceased loved one’s assets will learn that he or she needs to obtain probate court documentation before completing the transfer.


First, it is necessary to notify the court of the need to open probate and petition for appointment of a personal representative. Several key steps follow, including notification to heirs and interested parties, notification to creditors, and inventorying assets.


After paying valid claims and meeting statutory time requirements, personal representatives are responsible for distributing assets to heirs. Before such distributions can occur, though, personal representatives must often sell tangible personal property such as vehicles, jewelry, or artwork, and sell real estate on behalf of the estate. 


Choose a Trusted Probate Law Firm


Managing the estate administration process is usually difficult and time-consuming. The good news is that you do not need to go it alone. When you require a probate lawyer in Oklahoma City, Goodnight Law, PLLC is here to help. As experienced legal professionals, we are adept at navigating the complexities of Oklahoma’s probate laws and processes. We also understand the emotions that can come with administering a loved one’s estate or with probate disputes, and we approach every client engagement with skill and compassion.


To learn more about our estate and probate legal services, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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