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Probate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

At Elizabeth A. Richards Attorney at Law, we offer sound advice and legal representation to individuals, beneficiaries, executors and administrators in all forms of estate planning and probate procedures. Since the topic of probate is a rather unfamiliar area of law for a lot of individuals, we have provided a Probate FAQ page. We encourage you to continue reading the list of commonly asked questions that we have included below. If you are in need of further information, don't hesitate to contact an Oklahoma City probate attorney directly from our firm to schedule a free consultation.

  • What is probate?
    Probate is a court-supervised legal proceeding where a will is proven and the decedent's estate is settled. This process involves naming an executor to administrate, having that individual pay all debts and expenses of the estate and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.
  • How do I open probate?
    Probate is commenced the same way as any other civil action, by paying the required court filing costs and filing a petition for probate.
  • Who has jurisdiction over probate proceedings?
    In Oklahoma, the district court in the county of which the decedent was a resident has probate jurisdiction and the judge has power to open and receive a will, to appoint an executor or administrator, to compel personal representatives to render accounts, to order payments of debts from estates and much more.
  • What is a personal representative?
    The personal representative can be an executor, an administrator, a conservator, or guardian. It is the personal representative's responsibility to administrate (manage) the decedent's estate. For the purposes of "probate proceedings," the executor is the personal representative that was named in the will to settle the estate.
  • What is the time requirement to notify the court of a death?
    The person holding the will, within 30 days of receiving information about the will-maker's death is required to deliver the same information to the district court with jurisdiction. The failure to comply with this provision can hold the person responsible for this failure and liable for damages sustained by anyone injured.
  • Who has the right to ask the court to prove a will?
    Any executor or beneficiary named in the will, or anyone else who has interest in the estate may upon the death of the testator, petition the court to have the will proved.
  • What information does the probate petition have to include?
    The probate petition must include the jurisdictional facts including: whether the person named executor accepts or denies their right to the letters of testamentary; the names, ages, and residences of the heirs and beneficiaries and; the estimated value of the estate.
  • Can the will be contested during probate?
    Anyone interested in the estate has the right to contest the will and they can do this through guardians or personal attorneys. Wills are frequently contested on the basis of fraud, undue influence, duress, and questions over the decedent's mental capacity at the time of signing the will.
  • Are all assets subject to probate?
    No, not all assets are subject to probate. Assets which are owned jointly in which the right of survivorship passes to someone else are not subject to probate. Payable-on-death bank accounts, life insurance with named beneficiaries, IRAs, Keoghs, trusts, and other assets which allow you to name a beneficiary are considered "non-probate" assets and avoid the probate process.

Former Client Testimonials

  • “She made this process so much easier for me and my family. ”


  • “I highly recommend her for any probate related issues.”


  • “I expect to continue to recommend her to others in the future.”


  • “She and her staff made the process as quick and as easy as possible.”


  • “Thank you, Elizabeth!! You were TRULY an answer to my prayers!!”


Why Choose Our Firm?

  • Experience

    Attorney Richards has resolved these matters for over 30 years.

  • Bilingual Services

    We can provide legal representation in both English and Spanish.

  • Individual Attention

    Attorney Richards personally handles every aspect of your case.

  • Free Consultations

    Your initial consultation will be confidential and free of charge.

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