What Happens To Our Debt When We Die?
In Oklahoma, if you own assets upon your death, there will be a probate action open in the county court where you were a resident or where you owned a property. During the probate, all of your creditors will be given notice of the opportunity to file claims against your estate. The creditors will have about two months to file their claims. The personal representative of your estate will then have the opportunity to approve or deny those claims. If the personal representative denies the claims and the court later determines that they were valid claims, your probate estate assets will also be used to pay the attorney’s fee for the creditor’s attorneys. Such expenses can sometimes exceed the amount of the initial claim.
Fortunately, many of your creditors will miss the two-month filing deadline and therefore, your probate estate will not have to pay those creditors at all. For that reason, we will sometimes open a probate case even if there are not a lot of assets left in your name. We do that because we want to assure that your heirs and beneficiaries get to receive your assets free and clear and are not later called on to return those assets to pay bills. Please note that some creditors are not required to file claims. For example, the cost of funeral and burial expenses, and the final medical expenses. The state law requires the personal representative to pay those bills as soon as the personal representative has money in hand sufficient to make those payments.
It is sometimes difficult to determine which medical bills qualify under the statute. If, for example, you have been ill for several months or years leading up to your passing, it may be almost impossible for your personal representative to know which medical bills qualify as being a part of your final illness. If you have difficulties or need guidance in this particular area, contact a probate attorney.
Am I Responsible For My Spouse’s Debt?
In Oklahoma, you are responsible for your spouse’s necessaries. This is generally considered things like medical care, food, and shelter. One of the really large necessary expenses that your family may face is the cost of long term care in a skilled nursing facility, also known as a nursing home. Care in these facilities will cost between $150 and $250 a day in Oklahoma. You will not have to live there very long before such expense eat up a substantial part of your savings. Fortunately, the Medicaid program can assist in paying the cost of long term care when you are down to your last $2,000. Unfortunately, many of us will have a spouse at home and we would like to preserve as much money as possible for that spouse. To achieve that goal, you will need to speak to a law office that has expertise in Medicaid planning. There is rather a lot that can be done to maximize the benefit to the spouse who remained outside long term care.
For more information on Debts After Death In Oklahoma State, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 754-4166 today.
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