What to do when an estate is too small to probate?

What to do when an estate is too small to probate?

  • Can we avoid probate?
  • Is there a shortcut around probate?
  • What if the cost of probate will be more than the property left behind?
  • How do we get title to the car left in the decedant’s name?
  • Small probate solution?

When a person passes away with a small estate, it may seem the cost of the probate process will take most if not all of the remaining assets.  Oklahoma has a process that can provide relief when all the personal property left does not exceed $20,000.  When the conditions of Oklahoma statute 12 O.S. §393 are met, a simple affidavit may transfer the property to the rightful heir.  Several times I have been able to draft an affidavit to get an heir the money left in a bank account, or a stock in a brokerage account, or transfer the title to a car.  My clients have been very grateful to avoid probate.

This article was written 1/19/2015, specifically for the Oklahoma jurisdiction.  A different result may occur in a different jurisdiction and the law does change, so it is important to seek competent legal and tax advice from professionals before acting on anything written in this article.  Todd Willhoite is a probate attorney in Claremore, Oklahoma.