Oklahoma Small Estates Law

Executors and administrators Filing of Petition for Summary Administration – Requirements of filing and petition

Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Oklahoma

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.

Oklahoma Summary:

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:

Oklahoma requirements are set forth in the statutes below.

Oklahoma Statutes
Title 58. Probate Procedure.
Chapter 3. Executors and administrators – Gen. Provisions
Miscellaneous Provisions

§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. If there is no legal newspaper in a county, then all such notices required by this subsection shall be published in a legal newspaper in an adjoining county having a legal newspaper. 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. Creditors shall file claims against the estate with the personal representative or the attorney for personal representative within thirty (30) days after the publication of the notice. Notice of the hearing or the combined notice shall be mailed to all persons interested in the estate of the decedent at their respective last-known addresses not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing, and the notice shall set forth a date by which final account and petition for distribution will be filed. The date of the 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 the 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 the final accounting, determining heirship and the legatees and devisees, if any, of the decedent, distributing the property of the 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.

Historical Data: Laws 1961, HB 565, p. 441, § 1; Amended by Laws 1970, SB 637, c. 98, § 1, emerg. eff. March 30, 1970; Amended by Laws 1971, SB 177, c. 94, § 1, eff. October 1, 1971; Amended by Laws 1973, HB 1389, c. 121, § 1, emerg. eff. May 4, 1973; Amended by Laws 1975, HB 1241, c. 33, § 1, eff. October 1, 1975; Amended by Laws 1976, SB 682, c. 78, § 1, eff. October 1, 1976; Amended by Laws 1979, SB 43, c. 46, § 1; Amended by Laws 1988, HB 1248, c. 228, § 2, emerg. eff. June 22, 1988; Amended by Laws 1993, SB 546, c. 345, § 9, eff. September 1, 1993; Amended by Laws 2004, HB 1872, c. 114, § 1, eff. November 1, 2004 (superseded document available).

§245. Filing of Petition for Summary Administration – Requirements of Filing and Petition

A. A petition for summary administration may be filed by any person interested in an estate that meets one of the following conditions:
1. The value of the estate is less than or equal to Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00);
2. The decedent has been deceased for more than five (5) years; or
3. The decedent resided in another jurisdiction at the time of death.

B. The petition shall set forth the following:
1. A statement of the interest of the petitioner;
2. The name, age and date of death of the decedent, and the county and state of the decedent’s domicile at the time of death;
3. If the decedent died testate, the original or certified copy of the will of the decedent shall be attached to the petition, together with a statement that:
a. the petitioner, to the best of the knowledge of the petitioner, believes the will to have been validly executed, and
b. after the exercise of due diligence, the petitioner is unaware of any instrument revoking the will, and that the petitioner believes that the instrument attached to the application is the decedent’s last will;
4. Whether the will attached to the petition has been admitted to probate in any other jurisdiction;
5. If the decedent died intestate, the petitioner shall state that the petitioner has diligently searched for and failed to find a will;
6. The names, ages and last-known addresses of the administrators, executors, nonpetitioning conominees, heirs, legatees and devisees of the decedent, so far as known to the petitioner;
7. The names and last-known addresses of all known creditors of the decedent. The petitioner shall state that the petitioner has exercised due diligence in determining the identities, last-known addresses and claims of the decedent’s creditors;
8. The probable value and character of the property of the estate and the legal description of all real property owned by the decedent in Oklahoma;
9. Whether an application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;
10. A statement of the relief requested, which may include a prayer for the court to admit the will, if any, to probate, to appoint the person requested in the petition as personal representative, to determine the heirs, devisees and legatees of the decedent, to approve the final account, to distribute the property of the estate and to discharge the personal representative; and
11. A waiver of the final accounting pursuant to Section 541 of this title, if applicable.

C. The petition shall be verified by the petitioner or signed by the attorney for the petitioner.

D. The court, without a hearing, shall issue letters of special administration to the person requested in the petition if the petition is in proper form and:
1. The proposed personal representative is named as personal representative in the will;
2. The proposed personal representative has prior right to appointment; or
3. The petition is accompanied by a waiver of all persons entitled to letters testamentary and all persons with a prior right of appointment.

The special administrator shall have the powers set forth in subsection A of Section 215 of this title. The court, in its discretion, may require a bond.

Historical Data: Laws 1998, HB 2141, c. 359, § 1, eff. November 1, 1998; Amended by Laws 2013, HB 1547, c. 144, § 1, eff. November 1, 2013 (superseded document available); Amended by Laws 2014, HB 2790, c. 155, § 1, emerg. eff. April 25, 2014 (superseded document available).

§246. Summary Administration – Petition – Notice – Hearing

A. Upon the filing of the petition and combined notice, the court shall dispense with the regular estate proceedings prescribed by law and the court shall order notice to creditors and issue an order granting final hearing upon the petition for admission of the will, if any, to probate, the petition for summary administration, the final accounting, and the petition for determination of heirship, distribution and discharge. However, nothing in this section shall affect the lien upon any property for any estate or transfer tax which may be due upon the estate of the decedent.

B. Notice to creditors and notice of hearing upon the petition for summary administration and the final accounting, determination of heirship, and distribution and discharge shall be combined into one notice, referred to as a “combined notice”. Combined notice shall be filed at the same time the petition for summary administration is filed. The combined notice shall set forth the following:
1. The name, address, and date of death of the decedent;
2. The name and address of the petitioner;
3. Whether a will exists;
4. The name and address of the personal representative, if specified;
5. The name and address of the heirs or devisees;
6. The probable value of the estate of the decedent as set forth in the petition;
7. The date, time and place of the final hearing;
8. That the person receiving the notice or any interested party may file objections to the petition at any time before the final hearing and send a copy to the petitioner or that person will be deemed to have waived any objections to the petition;
9. That if an objection is filed before the hearing, the court will determine at the hearing whether the will attached to the petition shall be admitted to probate, whether summary proceedings are appropriate and, if so, whether the estate will be distributed and to whom the estate will be distributed; and
10. The claim of any creditor will be barred unless the claim is presented to the personal representative no more than thirty (30) days following the granting of the order admitting the petition and combined notice.

C. Within ten (10) days of the granting of the order admitting the petition and combined notice, notice of the petition, notice to creditors, and notice of final accounting, determination of heirship, distribution and discharge shall be published once each week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper that is authorized by law to publish legal notices and that is published in the county where the petition is filed. If no newspaper authorized by law to publish legal notices is published in the county, the notice shall be posted in three public places in the county, one of which shall be the county courthouse. Within ten (10) days of the granting of the order admitting the petition and combined notice, the combined notice shall be mailed to creditors of the decedent as provided in Sections 331 and 331.1 of this title. Within ten (10) days of the granting of the order admitting the petition and combined notice, the combined notice shall be mailed to all persons interested in the estate of the decedent at their respective last-known addresses.

D. The matter shall be set for final hearing not less than forty-five (45) days following the granting of the order admitting the petition and combined notice.

E. If there is a defect in notice or in the form of the petition or if objections are filed, or for other good cause shown, the hearing may be postponed to a date certain.

Historical Data: Laws 1998, HB 2141, c. 359, § 2, eff. November 1, 1998; Amended by Laws 2013, HB 1547, c. 144, § 2, eff. November 1, 2013 (superseded document available); Amended by Laws 2014, HB 2790, c. 155, § 2, emerg. eff. April 25, 2014 (superseded document available).

§247. Objections – Petition for Summary Administration – Order

A. At the hearing, the court shall hear objections from all persons who timely filed objections. If the court determines that summary proceedings are appropriate, the court may, after proof of payment of funeral expenses, expenses of last sickness and of administration and allowed claims, issue an order approving the petition for summary administration, finding that the will has been proved as required by law, admitting the will attached to the petition to probate, allowing the final accounting, determining heirship and the legatees and devisees, if any, of the decedent, distributing the property of the 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.

B. The order of the court shall have the same force and effect as a final decree or order rendered in any other proceeding provided in this title for distribution of the estate of a decedent. A certified copy of the order or a notice of the order as set forth in Section 711 of Title 58 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall be filed and recorded in the records of the county clerk in any county where real property in which the decedent had any right, title, or interest is located.

Historical Data: Laws 1998, HB 2141, c. 359, § 3, eff. November 1, 1998.


Inside Oklahoma Small Estates Law