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Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC.

What Is The Time Requirement To Notify The Court Of A Death?

If the decedent had a last will and testament, the Oklahoma statutes require that every custodian of a will has 30 days following their receiving information that the will maker has passed away to deliver the will to the District Court that has jurisdiction over the estate or to the executor that is named in the will. If the custodian of the last will and testament fails to comply with the statute, that person becomes responsible for the damages if someone is injured by the failure to deliver the last will and testament. If the person who has passed did not have a last will and testament, there is not a statute requiring that the court be given notice of the death. The heirs of such a person cannot, however, receive the benefit of their inheritance until the probate has taken place.

Therefore, it is generally wise to move quickly towards starting the probate process so that the heirs can receive their inheritance in a timely manner and without undue expense.

What Information Should A Probate Petition Include?

A probate petition should advise the court the name of the decedent; his or her date of death, and state the reason that the court has jurisdiction over the case. Next the petition will generally advise the court the names and addresses of all of the decedent’s heirs at law as well as the decedent’s beneficiaries if he or she left a last will and testament. The statutes require that the petition state the value of the assets of the decedent. This valuable information is included so that the court may determine the amount of bond that may be required. The petition should identify the name and address of the person who is requesting to be appointed as a personal representative (formerly known as executor) and whether this person has any felonies or whether he or she has any possible conflicts of interests as to serving as the personal representative.

Can a Will Be Contested During A Probate?

Yes, a will can be contested at two different times. First, before the will is admitted to probate the contestants may file their objections to the admission of the will and will have the opportunity to put on evidence as to why they believe the will should not be admitted to probate. Once the will has been admitted to probate, contestants and interested persons have 3 months from that date of admission to file a contest. In order to do this, the contestant must file in the court a sworn petition containing the allegations of fact why the will should not be allowed to probate. There is a limited number of issues that a contestant may raise in such a petition. Those include that a more recent will has been found; that some jurisdictional fact was omitted from the probate; that the testator was incompetent or was under duress or undue influence when the will was executed; or that the will was not correctly executed or attested at the time of the signing.

Such will contests can be difficult and expensive, but there are instances where that is the only way that justice will be served. Our office does represent parties at such will contests but please be advised that the estate generally will not be paying the attorney fees and costs for such a contest. Further, the party who raises the will contest must pay the fees or expenses of this action if they are not successful. But if the probate be annulled and revoked, the party who unsuccessfully resisted the revocation must pay the costs or the costs can be paid out of the estate of the decedent, as the court decides.

For more information on Notifying The Court Of A Death In Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 754-4166 today.

Terrell Monks, Esq. - Estate Planning Attorney, Edmond City

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