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How to administer an estate in Oklahoma when there is no will

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Estate Planning |

The loss of a loved one is a difficult experience, and dealing with their estate adds another layer of complexity to that stressful turn of events. In Oklahoma, if the deceased didn’t leave a will (died intestate), the process becomes even more involved.

When someone dies without a will, the state dictates how their assets are distributed according to the state’s intestate succession laws. These laws determine who inherits the estate and in what proportions. The general order of inheritance is:

  • Spouse: If there’s a surviving spouse, they typically receive half of the estate. The remaining half goes to the children.
  • Children: If there’s no spouse, the children inherit the entire estate. If a child is deceased, their share passes to their descendants (grandchildren).
  • Parents: If there’s no spouse or children, the estate goes to the deceased’s parents.
  • Other relatives: If there are no parents, the inheritance follows a designated order through siblings, nieces, nephews and so on.

Without a will, the court appoints a personal representative (administrator) to oversee the estate administration. This person is responsible for identifying all the deceased’s property, including bank accounts, real estate, investments and personal belongings.

The personal representative is also responsible for inventorying all assets and their estimated values and using estate funds to settle outstanding debts and tax liabilities. Finally, the administrator is required to divide the remaining estate according to Oklahoma’s intestacy laws.

Seeking assistance

Administering an estate without a will can be complex and time-consuming. Therefore, affected families can benefit from consulting with a reliable legal team that can smooth out the process.