Intestate Succession in Oklahoma

What happens if you die without a will? Learn about intestacy in Oklahoma.

Intestate Succession in Oklahoma

If you die without a will in Oklahoma, your assets will go to your closest relatives under state “intestate succession” laws. Here are some details about how intestate succession works in Oklahoma.

Which Assets Pass by Intestate Succession

Only assets that would have passed through your will are affected by intestate succession laws. Usually, that includes only assets that you own alone, in your own name.

Many valuable assets don’t go through your will, and aren’t affected by intestate succession laws. Here are some examples:

  • property you’ve transferred to a living trust
  • life insurance proceeds
  • funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
  • securities held in a transfer-on-death account
  • payable-on-death bank accounts
  • real estate held by transfer-on-death or beneficiary deed, or
  • property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.

These assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will.

To learn more about these types of assets, go to the How to Avoid Probate section of Nolo.com or read about Avoiding Probate in Oklahoma.

Who Gets What in Oklahoma?

Under intestate succession, who gets what depends on whether or not you have living children, parents, or other close relatives when you die. Here’s a quick overview:

If you die with: here’s what happens:
  • children but no spouse
  • children inherit everything
  • spouse but no descendants, parents, or siblings
  • spouse inherits everything
  • spouse and descendants from you and that spouse
  • spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate property
  • your descendants inherit everything else
  • spouse and at least one descendant from you and someone other than that spouse
  • spouse inherits 1/2 of all property acquired by joint effort during your marriage and splits the remaining intestate property equally with your descendants
  • descendants inherit everything else
  • spouse and parents
  • spouse inherits all the property acquired by joint effort during marriage, plus 1/3 of the remaining intestate property
  • parents inherit everything else
  • spouse and siblings
  • spouse inherits all the property acquired by joint effort during your marriage, plus 1/3 of the remaining intestate property
  • siblings inherit everything else
  • parents but no spouse or descendants
  • parents inherit everything
  • siblings but no spouse, descendants, or parents
  • siblings inherit everything
  • The Spouse’s Share in Oklahoma

    In Oklahoma, if you are married and you die without a will, what your spouse gets depends on whether or not you have living parents or descendants -- children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. If you don’t, then your spouse inherits all of your intestate property. If you do, they and your spouse will share your intestate property as follows:

    If you die with parents but no descendants. Your surviving spouse inherits all property acquired by joint effort during your marriage, plus 1/3 of the balance.

    Example: Gerry is married to Joe, and her father is still alive. Gerry owns a house in joint tenancy with Joe, and Joe is also the named beneficiary of Gerry’s retirement account. When Gerry dies, Joe automatically inherits the house and any remaining retirement funds; those things are not intestate property. Joe also inherits all the property that he and Gerry acquired together during marriage, such as their cars and personal property. Gerry has $75,000 worth of additional, separate property that would have passed under a will if she had named one. Joe inherits $25,000 worth of that property, and Gerry’s father inherits $50,000.

    If you die with children or other descendants from you and the surviving spouse. Your surviving spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate property.

    Example: Bill is married to Karen, and they have two grown children. Bill and Karen own a large bank account in joint tenancy, and Bill took out a life insurance policy naming Karen as the beneficiary. When Bill dies, Karen receives the life insurance policy proceeds and inherits the bank account outright. Bill also owns $400,000 worth of other property that would have passed under a will. Karen inherits $200,000 worth of that property and the two children inherit $100,000 each.

    If you die with at least one descendant who is not the descendant of your surviving spouse. Your spouse inherits 1/2 of all property acquired by joint effort during your marriage, and splits the rest with your descendants.

    Example: Barrett is married to Jed and also has a 12-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Barrett owns a house in joint tenancy with Jed, plus $200,000 worth of additional, separate property that would have passed under a will if Barrett had made one. When Barrett dies, Jed inherits the house outright, half of all other property he and Barrett acquired together during their marriage, and $100,000 worth of Barrett’ separate property. Barrett’s daughter inherits the other half of Barrett’s marital property plus $100,000 worth of her separate property.

    In Oklahoma, your surviving spouse is always entitled to inherit one of your automobiles. (Oklahoma Statutes § 84â

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