Creating an Oklahoma Will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Oklahoma wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will) in creating valid Oklahoma wills and in assigning a person (called the executor in most states) to administer an Oklahoma last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements for: Oklahoma Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years of age.
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: An Oklahoma last will and testament must be signed by the testator or in the testator's name by some other individual in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction
Witnesses: An Oklahoma last will and testament must be signed by signed by at least two individuals, each of whom signed in the presence of the testator and of each other after each witnessed the signing of the will
Writing: An Oklahoma last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: An Oklahoma last will and testament may make a disposition of property to any person except that no corporation can take under a will, unless expressly authorized by its charter or by statute.
Other types of recognized wills:
Holographic wills: Under certain requirements provided by Oklahoma laws, a handwritten will may be recognized. However, the legal requirements for a handwritten will are specific and need to be strictly followed in order to deem the will valid.
Nuncupative wills: In certain circumstances (e.g. in actual military service in the field, or doing duty on shipboard at sea), an oral will that disposes of personal property may be valid under Oklahoma laws. However, the legal requirements for an oral will must be strictly followed in order to deem the will valid.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Oklahoma laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
Our Oklahoma wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our Oklahoma wills form may also be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until the estate is settled.
A will may pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A beneficiary in a life insurance policy may not be changed through a will.
If a spouse is excluded from the will, the surviving spouse may take a portion (an "elective share") of the estate within a certain period of time as allowed by Oklahoma laws.
Providing for Pets
Oklahoma law currently does not have specific statutes pertaining to providing care for pets. However, the testator may specify a beneficiary as the new owner of a pet. Legalzoom's Oklahoma wills form gives you the choice of providing for your pets in this manner.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
An Oklahoma will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
An Oklahoma will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document making additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Oklahoma probate laws.
Revoking a Will
An Oklahoma will and testament or any part is revoked:
By a written will or other writing of the testator, declaring such revocation or alteration, and executed with the same formalities for creating a will under Oklahoma laws or
By being burnt, torn, canceled, obliterated or destroyed, with intent and for the purpose of revoking the same, by the testator himself, or by some person in his presence and by his direction.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the Oklahoma last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, appoint a personal representative to administrate the will, and distribute property as designated in the Oklahoma last will.
According to the Oklahoma Bar Association:
"As a resident of Oklahoma your estate may also be subject to an Oklahoma estate tax. Oklahoma law has recently changed to match the exemptions available under federal law. Therefore, the exemption given by the state is $675,000 for 2001 and will increase to $1 million in 2006. The rate of Oklahoma estate tax paid will depend upon who receives the property in your estate, "lineal" heirs or "collateral" heirs." The taxes owed on your estate from probate of your Oklahoma last will are determined using these guidelines.
It is extremely important to make an Oklahoma will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Oklahoma laws.
For example, your spouse will receive the entire estate if you have no surviving parents, siblings, or children. If you leave no surviving spouse, but leave children, then your children will share the estate.
If you make an Oklahoma will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.