If my mother left a small estate must it be probated?

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If my mother left a small estate must it be probated?

She left only her home, which is old, dilapidated and worth little. Also, a few small certificates of deposit. She had accumulated quite a bit of credit card debt because her fixed income was very small. Her Will named me as executor. How do I proceed?

Asked on March 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Every state has a mechanism and a set of special procedures for what is known as Small Estate Administration. In Oklahoma it appears that if an estate is valued under $150,000 it qualifies for a small estate.  Now, the general rule is that all Wills must be offered for probate and that the executor must pay all debts and taxes owed (such as the credit card debt that you mentioned) of estate assets.  Some assets fall "outside" of the estate like jointly held assets or assets that have designated beneficiaries like life insurance policies.  Being a small estate you can apply for expedited procedures.  Speak with the Court clerks.  While they can give you any legal advice they can guide you somewhat.  Good luck to you.


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