Elwell and Spain | Wills and Trusts
Let us protect your legacy

Blog

Elwell & Spain Blog

5 Things to Know About Probate

5 Things to Know About Probate

1.     Probate Can Take A While To Complete

The Oklahoma Bar Association estimates that most estates will take between six to twelve months to complete.  Complex estates involving the sale of property usually take longer than twelve months.

2.     Probate Is Public

Like most other court proceedings, probate is open to the public.  This means that anyone can see your assets filed in the probate inventory and your beneficiary designations. The proceedings are also open to the public, making probate contests relatively easy to initiate. If a will is involved, it is filed with the court clerk and open to the public. Because trusts generally avoid probate, privacy is maintained. 

3.     Probate Is Not Always Necessary

Some assets transfer outside of the probate process. A few examples include life insurance and retirement accounts. However, without completed beneficiary forms, even these assets will be included in the probate estate.

4.     Probate Can Be Expensive

Most probate proceedings involve multiple court appearances by the estate’s attorney. Furthermore, each courthouse will require a filing fee for the probate and multiple notices will need to be published in a local newspaper.

5.     Wills Do Not Avoid Probate

It is a common misconception that probate is only for those without a will. Although a will does not help an estate avoid probate, a properly funded revocable trust can ensure that beneficiaries avoid the probate process. Aside from a trust, some types of property can be held in such a way to avoid probate.