How to Avoid Probate in Oklahoma
When a person passes away, their assets are transferred to the people who inherit them during probate court proceedings. However, probate can be long, expensive, and downright confusing.
Fortunately, there are steps available to spare families the hassle. There are different ways to avoid probate altogether.
The following are several options to avoid probate in Oklahoma:
- Living trusts – In Oklahoma, you can make a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own, such as real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, and so on. It can be created when you are living as compared to a trust that is created throughout the terms of your last will and testament when you pass away. Just make a trust document (similar to a will), which names someone to take over as trustee after your death. Then, you must transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee of the trust. As soon as this is complete, the property will be controlled by the terms of the trust and your successor trustee can transfer it to the trust beneficiaries without probate court proceedings when you pass away.
- Joint ownership – If you own property with another person (like your spouse), and this ownership includes the “right of survivorship,” then the surviving owner automatically owns the property when the other owner passes away. No probate will be required to transfer the property. Forms of joint ownership are available in Oklahoma include joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety (only available for married couples).
- Payable-on-death designations – You can add a “payable-on-death” (POD) designation to bank accounts, including savings accounts or certificates of deposit. You still control the money in the account. But at your death, the beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank without probate.
- Transfer-on-death designations – You can register stocks and bonds in transfer-on-death (TOD) form, so that the beneficiary you name will automatically inherit the account at your death. You can also leave real estate with transfer-on-death deeds. However, Oklahoma prohibits transfer-on-death registration for vehicles.