Making a Will in Oklahoma
How to make a will in Oklahoma and what can happen if you don't.
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Making a Will in Oklahoma

How to make a will in Oklahoma and what can happen if you don't.

Steps to Create a Will in Oklahoma

Here's a quick checklist for making a will in Oklahoma:

  1. Decide what property to include in your will.
  2. Decide who will inherit your property.
  3. Choose an executor to handle your estate.
  4. Choose a guardian for your children.
  5. Choose someone to manage children's property.
  6. Make your will.
  7. Sign your will in front of witnesses.
  8. Store your will safely.

Why Should I Make an Oklahoma Will?

A will, also called a "last will and testament," can help you protect your family and your property. You can use a will to:

  • leave your property to people or organizations
  • name a personal guardian to care for your minor children
  • name a trusted person to manage property you leave to minor children, and
  • name an executor, the person who makes sure that the terms of your will are carried out.

What Happens if I Don't Have a Will?

In Oklahoma, if you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to state "intestacy" laws. Oklahoma's intestacy law gives your property to your closest relatives, beginning with your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, your grandchildren or your parents will get your property. This list continues with increasingly distant relatives, including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. If the court exhausts this list to find that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, the state will take your property.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Oklahoma?

No. You can make your own will in Oklahoma, using Nolo's Quicken WillMaker. However, you may want to consult a lawyer in some situations. For example, if you think that your will might be contested or if you want to disinherit your spouse, you should talk with an attorney. Nolo's will-making products tell you when it's wise to seek a lawyer's advice.

What Are the Requirements for Making a Will in Oklahoma?

To make a will in Oklahoma, you must be:

Even if a guardian or conservator has been appointed over a person, he or she may still be able to make a will. However, in that case, you must sign and acknowledge your will in front of a district court judge who witnesses the execution of the will but doesn't have any authority or responsibility to approve what's in the will or declare it valid. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑41(B).

You can use your will to dispose of both your real and personal property. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑41(A).

You must generally make your will on hard copy. That is, it must be on actual paper. It cannot be on an audio, video, or any other digital file. (Although, see "Can I Make a Digital or Electronic Will?," below.) Oklahoma does permit handwritten wills (Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑54), but they are usually not a good idea.

Oklahoma also recognizes nuncupative (oral) wills in limited circumstances. To make a valid nuncupative will, you must have been in military service in the field or doing duty on shipboard at sea and in peril or fear of death or believing you would immediately die from an injury you received that same day. Also, your estate must be worth $1,000 or less and have two witnesses present when you declare your will out loud. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑46.

How Do I Sign My Oklahoma Will?

To finalize your will in Oklahoma:

  • you must sign or acknowledge your will in front of two witnesses
  • you must declare that the document you are signing is your will, and
  • your witnesses must sign your will in front of you at the end of the will. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑55.

A holographic will in Oklahoma must be entirely written in your handwriting, and dated and signed by you. It does not need to be witnessed. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑54.

Do I Need to Have My Will Notarized?

No, in Oklahoma, you do not need to notarize your will to make it legal.

However, Oklahoma allows you to make your will "self-proving" and you'll need to go to a notary if you want to do that. A self-proving will speeds up probate because the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who signed it.

To make your will self-proving you and your witnesses will go to the notary and sign an affidavit that proves who you are and that each of you knew you were signing the will. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑55.

Should My Will Name an Executor?

Yes. In Oklahoma, you can use your will to name an executor who will ensure that the provisions in your will are carried out after your death. Nolo's Quicken WillMaker produces a letter to your executor that generally explains what the job requires. If you don't name an executor, the probate court will appoint someone to take on the job of winding up your estate.

Can I Revoke or Change My Will?

In Oklahoma, you may revoke or change your will at any time.

You can revoke your will by:

  • burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying your will with the intent to revoke it
  • ordering someone else to burn, tear, cancel, obliterate, or destroy your will in front of you
  • making a new will that says it revokes the old will, or
  • making a writing that says it revokes the old will following the same formalities you used to make your original will (see above). Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑101.

If you and your spouse divorce (or if a court determines that your marriage is not legal), Oklahoma law revokes any language in your will that "favors" your spouse. This rule does not apply if you happen to remarry your spouse or you make a new will after your divorce. Oklahoma Statutes § 84‑114. If you have any concerns about the effects of divorce on your will, see an estate planning attorney for help.

If you need to make changes to your will, it's best to revoke it and make a new one. However, if you have only very simple changes to make, you could add an amendment to your existing will – this is called a codicil. In either case, you will need to finalize your changes with the same formalities you used to make your original will (see above).

Can I Make a Digital or Electronic Will?

In a few states, you can make a legal will digitally – that is, you can make the will, sign it, and have it witnessed without ever printing it out. Although such electronic wills are currently available in only a minority of states, many other states are considering making electronic wills legal. It is generally assumed that most states will allow them in the near future.

Where Can I Find Oklahoma's Laws About Making Wills?

You can find Oklahoma's laws about making wills here: Oklahoma Statutes Title 84 Wills and Succession.

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