Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Oklahoma
Related Oklahoma Legal Forms
Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:
1.Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.
2.Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.
Under Oklahoma statute, if the estate of the decedent is valued at less than $150,000, after a court ordered appraisal of the assets of the estate, and upon application of the personal representative, the court shall dispense with the regular proceedings or any part thereof prescribed by law, and the court shall order notice to creditors, and issue order for hearing upon the final accounting and petition for determination of heirship, distribution and discharge.
Oklahoma requirements are set forth in the statutes below.
Title 58. Probate Procedure.
§241. Dispensing with Regular Proceedings in Estates under $150,000 – Notice to Creditors and Notice of Hearing – Procedure.
A. If, upon filing a petition for probate and after the appointment of the personal representative, it appears that the value of the real and personal property in the estate does not exceed One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00), the court shall order the personal representative to make an inventory of the estate, and the court shall appoint appraisers unless the court determines that appraisement is not necessary.
B. If, upon return of the inventory of the estate of the decedent, and appraisement of the estate if required, it appears that the value of the whole estate, both real and personal property, does not exceed One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00), and upon application of the personal representative, the court shall dispense with the regular proceedings or any part thereof prescribed by law, and the court shall order notice to creditors, and issue order for hearing upon the final accounting and petition for determination of heirship, distribution and discharge; provided, nothing herein shall affect the lien upon any property for any estate or transfer tax which may be due upon the estate of the decedent.
C. Notice to creditors and notice of hearing upon the final accounting and petition for determination of heirship, distribution and discharge shall be published once each week for two (2) consecutive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation, published in the county where the probate is filed, or, where there is no newspaper published in the county, posted in three public places in said county, one of which shall be the county courthouse. Notice to creditors and notice of hearing upon the final accounting, determination of heirship, distribution and discharge may be combined in one notice, referred to as a “combined notice”. The notice to creditors or combined notice shall be mailed to creditors of the decedent as provided in Sections 331 and 331.1 of this title. Notice of the hearing or the combined notice shall be mailed to all persons interested in the estate of said decedent at their respective last-known addresses not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing, and said notice shall set forth a date by which final account and petition for distribution will be filed. The date of said filing shall precede by at least five (5) days the order allowing final accounting, determination of heirs, and of legatees and devisees, if any, and distribution.
D. The matter shall be set for hearing not less than thirty-five (35) days following the first publication of notice to creditors or combined notice, and upon such hearing the court shall, after proof of payment of funeral expenses, expenses of last sickness and of administration and allowed claims, issue an order allowing such final accounting, determining heirship and the legatees and devisees, if any, of said decedent, distributing the property of said estate and discharging the personal representative and surety or sureties on the personal representative’s bond, or defer such discharge if in the discretion of the court such deferral is necessary or desirable.