TN 13 (09-14)

GN 02315.074 Oklahoma Small Estates

A. Background on the Oklahoma small estates statues

The Oklahoma Code contains provisions found at Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 58, §§ 241-247 that allow courts to dispense with the regular probate proceedings when dealing with small estates, but that still require the court to appoint a legal representative. The Oklahoma Code also contains provisions at Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 30, § 4-805 and Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 58, §§ 393-394, that dispense with the requirement that a small estate have a court-appointed legal representative.

B. Oklahoma summary administration procedure

1. Estates of $150,000 or less

Title 58, section 241, provides that after filing a petition for probate and after a personal representative’s appointment in cases where the value of the decedent’s entire estate does not exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), upon the personal representative’s application, the probate court will follow an abbreviated administration procedure. The court must order notice to creditors and a hearing upon the final accounting and petition for determination of heirship, distribution, and discharge. After the hearing, the court must, after proof of payment of certain expenses and allowed claims, issue an order allowing the final accounting, determining the decedent’s heirship and the legatees and devisees, and distributing the estate property. Thus, court documentation is still needed for purposes of SSA’s good acquittance regarding an underpayment. For more information, see GN 02315.074D.2. in this section.

2. Estates of $175,000 or less (effective November 1, 2013, the amount changes to $200,000)

Title 58, sections 245-247, provide for summary administration of an estate, upon any interested person’s petition, when the value of the estate does not exceed one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000),1 the decedent has been deceased for more than 5 years, or the decedent resided in another jurisdiction at the time of death. The petition for summary administration must meet all of the requirements set forth in Title 58, section 245.

Upon the filing of the petition, the court must dispense with the regular estate proceedings and must order notice to creditors and issue an order for hearing upon the petition for admission of the will, if any, to probate, the petition for summary administration, the final accounting, and the petition determination of heirship, distribution, and discharge.

After the hearing, if the court determines that summary proceedings are appropriate, the court may, after proof of payment of certain expenses and allowed claims, issue an order approving the petition for summary administration, finding that the will has been approved by law, admitting the will attached to the petition to probate, allowing the final accounting, determining the decedent’s heirship and the legatees and devisees, and distributing the estate property.

The court’s order shall have the same force and effect as a final decree or order rendered in any other proceeding provided by Oklahoma law for distribution of the decedent’s estate. A certified copy of the order or notice of the order shall be filed and recorded in the records of the county clerk in any county where the decedent’s real property is located. Thus, we still need court documentation for purposes of SSA’s “good acquittance” regarding an underpayment. For more information, see GN 02315.074D.2. in this section.

C. Oklahoma procedure for distribution of personal property to legal guardian

Title 30, section 4-805, provides that where a beneficiary who was an adult ward dies intestate leaving only personal property and his total estate does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), his legal guardian may be treated as if he had been appointed personal representative of such estate, for purposes of receiving any underpayment due.

D. Oklahoma procedure for payment per successor affidavit

Title 58, section 393, provides for payment of property to a successor by affidavit. At any time ten (10) days or more after the decedent’s death, any person indebted to the decedent must make payment of the indebtedness to a person claiming to be a successor of the decedent upon being presented with an affidavit made by or on behalf of the successor.

1. Affidavit content requirements

The affidavit must state that:

  1. The fair market value of the decedent’s property located in Oklahoma, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000);

  2. No application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;

  3. Each claiming successor is entitled to the payment or property; and

  4. All taxes and debts of the estate have been paid or are barred by limitations.

2. Policy of good acquittance and effect of successor affida