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How can the representative of an Oklahoma estate afford a lawyer?

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Serving as the executor or personal representative of an Oklahoma state can be a very challenging undertaking. People often have to commit many months of their time to the process and worry about how the responsibilities they assume may open them up to liability.

Generally speaking, those tasked with estate administration will benefit from having an attorney support them throughout the process. A lawyer who is familiar with Oklahoma’s probate laws can help ensure that the executor of the estate handles every step of the process appropriately. They may even be able to minimize how much they personally have to attend court. Of course, securing legal representation can be very expensive. How can an executor pay for their legal support when managing an Oklahoma estate?

The estate will typically cover the costs

The need for legal guidance during the probate process is well-known, and executors shouldn’t have to take a financial loss to fulfill the last wishes of someone else. In fact, state law entitles them to payment for the services they provide. Many testators take the time to plan for the compensation or payment of the person they name as executor. State law does allow for the executor to claim a percentage of the total value of the assets from the estate if the documents do not specifically provide for their payment.

The payment received for one’s services will not necessarily need to cover legal representation either, as estates typically have the responsibility to cover the lawyer costs for the probate process. That would be an unfair requirement, especially if the estate had minimal value but faced controversy, such as challenges about the validity of the will. The estate itself will generally need to cover the costs of legal representation for the executor.

The cost of a probate attorney’s time is one of the priority expenses that will take precedence even over the inheritance of family members. Therefore, someone tasked with estate administration does not need to forgo legal advice and risk making expensive mistakes or pay out of pocket for the support that they require when settling someone else’s affairs.

Learning more about the rules that apply to estate administration and legal fee compensation can help those thinking about serving as an estate administrator make more informed decisions about their options – or their obligations, if they are already serving in this role.