When a person in Oklahoma dies, their estate goes through probate. This is a legal process that determines how the deceased’s beneficiaries will inherit their assets. In some cases, a judge might include the retirement accounts in the deceased’s estate and subject them to probate. However, the heirs might also be able to receive their inheritance directly without this court process.
Instances where retirement accounts go through probate
When you open a retirement account, the financial institution you use will ask you to name the beneficiaries of the account. When doing so, you must use the correct names, birth dates and Social Security numbers for each beneficiary. If you do not name a beneficiary or the information is incorrect, the court may consider the account part of your estate. In this instance, your heirs will have to receive their inheritance through probate.
Also, if you name a minor as a beneficiary, that retirement account will go through probate because minors cannot inherit assets in Oklahoma. Moreover, since Oklahoma is a community property state, if you name someone other than your spouse as a beneficiary, the court may decide that half of the retirement account will go through probate.
Instances where retirement accounts do not go through probate
If you made sure to name your beneficiaries correctly and did not name your trust as a beneficiary, then most of the time, those assets will pass directly to the named beneficiaries. This means they can bypass probate, and your financial institution of choice will distribute them according to your wishes. In addition, having an annuity with a designated beneficiary might also help avoid the probate process.
Overall, when deciding whether or not retirement accounts go through probate in Oklahoma, it is important to consider what type of accounts you have and the people you’ve named as the beneficiaries. If everything is in order, then the accounts will be able to bypass probate and go directly to the heirs. However, if there are any discrepancies or missing information, those retirement accounts may very well end up going through probate.