Oklahoma Probate Guide

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Navigating Probate Without Professional Help: Feasibility And Risks

  • By: spk-admin
  • Published: May 27, 2024
A lawyer guiding his client about Probate law - PSATT LLC.

Handling probate, or any legal matter at that, on your own without the guidance, support, or representation of a skilled probate lawyer can be incredibly intimidating. Although you don’t need an attorney, strictly speaking, and it is possible to navigate probate without one, doing so comes with considerable risks and challenges.

What’s more is that typically, probate occurs when you’ve recently lost a loved one. Seriously distracting from more important things like remembering your loved one, grieving, and tending to others who are suffering the same loss as you, facing these additional and unnecessary risks and challenges at such a time is truly the last thing you should be concerned with.

Based in Edmond, OK, the procedure of probate lawyers of Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC. crafted this article to equip you to navigate the probate process. Doing so can be incredibly difficult, so it’s vital you prepare yourself as thoroughly as possible. Know that partnering with a probate attorney is ultimately the surest way to ensure a smooth and efficient process, minimizing stress and potential conflicts during an already challenging time, however.

Feasibility

Perhaps the biggest reason most people opt to manage their probate case without the help of an experienced and trustworthy probate litigation lawyer is the perceived cost. Legal fees are undoubtedly costly, but there’s a chance your estate may be what’s considered a small estate. If so, this means you’d be able to enjoy a simplified and streamlined process, saving you time and money. Nonetheless, even in straightforward cases, you may be faced with unforeseen challenges. If so, it’s best to consider the following as early as possible:

Legal Requirements

Probate tends to involve strict legal procedures and deadlines that must be followed. Failure to follow these procedures, be it simply missing what seems like an arbitrary step or submitting the wrong document, can have serious consequences on your case, causing delays or other complications that can take even more time or money to resolve.

Asset Inventory And Valuation

Identifying and valuing all assets can be especially complex, yet it is a critical aspect of any probate case. You’ll need to compile a comprehensive inventory of all of the deceased’s assets, whether physical, financial, or digital in nature, and determine their value. This valuation must be accurate, however.

Given how volatile digital assets can be, this is no simple task. Physical and traditional financial assets can be much more straightforward, merely requiring a professional appraisal in some instances.

Debt Settlement

A key responsibility the executor of an estate has is to settle any outstanding debts left by an estate. This encompasses identifying and verifying all debts against an estate. Debt can range from simple consumer debt like credit card debt to more complex debts like mortgages against a house, personal loans, or medical bills. Executors are also required to notify creditors of the forthcoming probate through a public notice.

Verifying claims against an estate requires digging into documentation such as loan agreements, contracts, and billing statements. You’re likely already seeing how time-consuming this can be. This doesn’t even factor in a dispute that may arise. Should a dispute occur, it’s highly advisable to hire a probate disputes attorney.

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Risks

Attempting to manage your probate case without the guidance and support of a probate lawyer brings with it several glaring risks, including:

Disputes

Without the clarity experienced legal counsel will bring, probate is ripe for bringing forth disputes among beneficiaries. This is all the more true if the deceased’s intentions are ambiguous or contested.

Liability Exposure

As an executor, you have a fiduciary duty to administer the estate prudently in accordance with the law. Errors, even if unintentional or the result of innocent ignorance, can mean you will be held liable. Mistakes in debt settlement, asset distribution, and more, which are far too easy to make, are common instances where many fall into this pitfall.

Other Consequential Oversights

With the pace at which our world is becoming digitalized, it can be easy to overlook things such as digital assets or online accounts. But doing so means the estate may suffer losses by virtue of not recovering the value of those assets.

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Having a thorough grasp of probate will go far in easing the stress and uncertainty you’d otherwise experience when facing the process. With this article, you’ll be in a better position, armed with some key pitfalls to look out for as your probate case begins to unfold. Contact Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC. today if you need answers to particularly nuanced questions today. We’d love to help you navigate your probate case with ease.