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How does the probate process unfold if there is no will?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Probate

The probate process may often be a necessary component to managing the affairs of an estate after the testator passes on. If there is a will in place, this document may depict a person’s wishes and preferences and may identify an executor who will carry out this party’s wishes, but what happens if there is no will?

If someone close to you passes away without creating a will, you might not know what to expect from the probate process. Seeking insight on how this process will unfold when pertaining to an intestate estate could prove essential to helping you prepare to address your options and take the proper steps to safeguard your interests.

Probate for intestate estates

Preparing for the probate process can be stressful under any situation. If your loved one did not create a will, there may be various things to know about the subsequent process, such as:

  • Administrative judge: With no will in place, it may be up to the court to oversee the process. An administrative judge will make decisions on topics such as asset distribution in accordance with Oklahoma state laws.
  • Estate representative: The court may also seek to appoint a party to act as representative for the estate. This party may have many of the same duties as an estate executor, and it may be possible to apply for this position.
  • Estate heirs: It could also be vital to understand how state laws determine how to distribute assets. The court may identify estate heirs and distribute property using a priority list.
  • Distribution plan: The estate representative must also file a distribution plan with the court. If the court approves the proposed plan, the representative may begin distributing assets accordingly.

The party chosen to act as estate representative may also bear the duty of gathering information on any existing debts against the estate, and creditors may have a set period to step forward and file claims against the estate.

Preparing for the process

This may only be a brief overview of things to know about the estate administration process when there is no will in place. If you face a similar situation in life, you might not know what to expect from or how best to prepare for this process, and it could be helpful to consider seeking guidance from someone with experience in such matters. This could help you better prepare to safeguard your future interests as you prepare to navigate every stage of the probate process.