You might be preparing to execute an estate plan for the first time. After determining, compiling and signing whatever documents you need, your plan will be legally enforceable, provided you adhered to Oklahoma estate and probate laws during the execution phase of the plan. Once you have a plan in place, you’ll want to periodically review it so that it remains current and updated. As you begin the planning process, you’ll want to learn more about ancillary probate laws if you own real estate or tangible property in multiple states.
If you own property in Oklahoma and own real estate in another state, ancillary probate laws require simultaneous probate proceedings to occur at the administration of your estate. The state you resided in when you executed your estate plan is your “domiciliary” state. However, this state cannot distribute assets located in another state to your beneficiaries.
Avoid ancillary probate complications by titling assets a certain way
You can save your beneficiaries a lot of time, effort and stress by helping them avoid the ancillary probate process. To do so, you must title out-of-state property in a way that, when you die, it passes directly to the beneficiary you have chosen. Property titled this way does not have to pass through probate.
Discuss your estate plan with your executor ahead of time
If you’re aware that ancillary probate proceedings will be necessary when the time comes to administer your estate, you might want to discuss the issue with the individual you have chosen to serve as executor. An executor has many duties, one of which is to identify and gather all assets that are part of your estate. It will help your executor avoid stress if he or she knows ahead of time that ancillary probate will be necessary.
Use a trust to preserve the value of your estate
One of the reasons people try to avoid ancillary probate is that it ultimately can reduce the value of an estate because the estate will cover the fees associated with the process. If you want to avoid this, it’s a good idea to learn more about revocable trusts. You can place real estate or other tangible property you own outside of Oklahoma in a living (revocable) trust. Assets in such trusts are not subject to probate proceedings.
Oklahoma estate owners can customize their plans to fit their needs and goals. You may have several options available to protect assets and to help your beneficiaries avoid ancillary probate costs. Reviewing all options before signing any legal documents ensures that you can make informed decisions and create a plan that helps your loved ones streamline the administration process.