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Oklahoma Small Estate Affidavit

U.S. Coins and Paper Money

Oklahoma permits the distribution of a small estate without probate, if the estate is worth $50,000 or less in total. There are two ways to avoid probate using affidavits in Oklahoma – one for financial accounts, one for personal property.

The first type of “Small Estate Affidavit” allowed in Oklahoma is one for financial accounts worth a total of $50,000 or less. This affidavit is authorized by 6 OS § 906. Banks, credit unions and savings and loan associations are permitted under Oklahoma statutory law to pay out bank accounts under Fifty-Thousand Dollars ($50,000) upon affidavit. The account must be in the name of a sole individual (not two persons) and also have no beneficiary designated. An original certified death certificate must be presented along with an affidavit, and the affidavit must establish the time and place of death and residence of the decedent. Also, the affidavit must state that the decedent did not leave a will. If the decedent left a will, probate will be necessary. The affidavit must set out the names of the heirs of the decedent. The affidavit must be signed and sworn to by at least one of the known heirs of the decedent.

Oklahoma also allows an affidavit to take the place of probate for the distribution of tangible personal property (property other than money or land) or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, chose in action, or stock brand belonging to the decedent upon the presentment of an affidavit. This form of affidavit is authorized by 58 OS § 393. The limit is also $50,000, so any debt or personal property worth more than that must go through probate. Any person indebted to the decedent is authorized to accept the affidavit and make the distribution, so this affidavit can also be used for creditors as well as heirs at law. Anyone who is a successor to the decedent may sign the affidavit. The affidavit must state (1) the fair market value of property located in this state owned by the decedent and subject to disposition by will or intestate succession at the time of the decedent’s death, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed Twenty Thousand Dollars; (2) No application or petition for appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction; (3) Each claiming successor is entitled to payment or delivery of the property in the respective proportions set forth in the affidavit; and All taxes and debts of the decedent’s estate have been paid or otherwise provided for or are barred by the statute of limitations. Like the first affidavit mentioned, you must also present an original certified death certificate along with the affidavit. This affidavit would be useful for the transfer of household contents, a vehicle, a stock brokerage account or the transfer of private or public corporate stock which does not exceed $50,000.

The attorney at the Skillern Law Firm, PLLC can help you get these small assets out of probate by drafting a valid Small Estate Affidavit that can keep you out of probate. Call our office today!

Power of Attorney

Some people do not know the importance of having a power of attorney form within your estate planning documents, or what it even does. Today on Tulsa Estate Planning Blog, let’s break it down to see if you might need to consider getting one executed.  People I meet do not often stop to reflect on the expense, time, and legal hassles that are passed on to family and loved ones to set up a legal guardianship, when all they needed to do was have a power of attorney form to take care of the problem.

If you become incapacitated or incompetent by a matter of law and cannot make important medical, legal, or practical decisions, a power of attorney form should help solve the problem. People can become incapacitated by events such as an illness, an accident, an absence (either planned or not), or simply when you decide you cannot do it all by yourself. The Power of Attorney will decide who will make sure: banking deposits and slips are dealt with, the bills are paid on time, and insurance, medical, and benefits paper work are dealt with.

Disability and incapacity can hit anyone at any time. If you become incapacitated and haven’t appointed an attorney-in-fact, then a court will have to intervene before anyone may sign contracts, pay bills, sign a deed to transfer property, or decide other important matters. A Power of Attorney may be needed for the guardian to get access to joint accounts and conduct other business that is necessary when a person becomes incapacitated. If someone becomes disabled without a power of attorney form at hand, the parent, relative, or interested party must begin expensive and lengthy legal proceedings to be appointed as guardian of the incapacitated person. Guardianship proceedings typically cost thousands of dollars. The importance of a Power of Attorney is that, by creating a durable power of attorney before incapacity, a proceeding to establish guardianship can usually be avoided and the designated agent can usually act as representative for the incapacitated person in most situations.

There are two types of Power of Attorney forms: one for durable power and one for medical decisions. Skillern Law Firm can help you create both at a fraction of the cost of a guardianship proceeding. Call the Skillern Law Firm, PLLC today to talk about your estate planning needs.

Also, check out the last blog post about  in terrorem clauses.

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