If you have experienced the loss of a loved one with assets within the state of Oklahoma, the probate process may be necessary to effect the proper transfer of those assets. If a person died with a will, the Probate process is necessary to first validate the Will, and then to administer the estate according to the Will's terms. If a person has died without a Will, the process is called an administration and the assets are transferred according to the state statutes. The legal process is similar in either instance, and our experienced probate attorneys will navigate this complicated process for you.
The purpose of a guardianship is to appoint a guardian over a ward that is in need of physical and/or mental care and management of their property. A ward can be a minor child, a partially incapacitated person, or an incapacitated person. The guardian is legally responsible for the care of the ward and/or management of the property of the ward. The guardianship can be general, limited, or special. A general guardian assumes the care and management of the property of the ward, a limited guardian can only assume certain responsibilities as ordered by the court, and a special guardian is generally appointed for emergency situations for a certain period of time.
After a guardian has been appointed, the guardian becomes obligated to perform a number of duties diligently, in good faith, and in accordance with the guidelines set out by the court and Oklahoma law. Some of the duties of the guardian may include care of the physical and mental welfare of the ward, management of the property of the ward, and filing an annual accounting of the ward's property and report of the ward's physical or mental capacity.
The county where the ward resides is usually where the petition for a guardianship is filed. However, if the guardian is a member of the proposed ward's family, the guardianship can be filed in the guardian's county of residence. In instances where the guardian is a minor child over the age of fourteen (14), the child may nominate a guardian for court approval. To be eligible to be appointed as guardian by the court, the guardian must not be a minor nor an incapacitated or partially incapacitated person, a convicted felon, and the guardian must not be insolvent, or have declared bankruptcy during the prior five (5) years. Further, the guardian must not have been subject to the registration requirements of the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act, or any similar act of any other state.
If the ward is an incapacitated or partially incapacitated person, notice of the court hearing for the appointment of the guardian must be served upon the incapacitated or partially incapacitated ward, the spouse of the ward, the attorney of the ward, and all adult children of the ward. If the ward does not have a spouse, attorney, or adult children, then notice of the guardianship must be given to certain other family members.
If the ward is a minor child and has attained the age of fourteen (14), notice of the guardianship filing must be given to the ward. Notice of the guardianship filing for a minor child must also be given to the living parents of the ward and any other person having custody of the ward. If the ward has no living parent, then notice must be given to certain family members.