What determines whether a will is valid in Oklahoma?

When Oklahomans begin to think about mortality and their legacy, they often want to make sure they leave something of value to their loved ones. Such desires, however, require wills that are clear and can be executed by personal representatives once the will makers have died. This seems straightforward enough, but very often the time between when a will is written and when it is executed spans decades. Significant changes can occur in such broad passages of time, and what may be intended at one point may no longer be applicable, possible or even desirable 30, 40 or 50 years later.

So, what exactly constitutes a valid will in the eyes of the law? The answer is surprisingly simple. To be considered a last will and testament, a will must be written. Anything in a will has weight if the details remain applicable, including distribution of assets and properties, whether that is a simple collection of silver spoons or a vast real estate holding. Obviously, any item of property that has been disposed of before the testator's death is no longer available for disposal or distribution, and any person who died previously cannot inherit anything.

Written intentions are always considered before any actual or alleged oral declaration a will maker might have made before death. This means that any oral promise made to someone that is not backed up in writing will get less consideration -- or perhaps no consideration -- by the executor of the estate.

Even though the written word counts as the principal indicator of a will maker's wishes, words are often ambiguous and can be interpreted in many ways. This is why it is important for anyone who is considering leaving assets or properties behind should consult an experienced legal professional who knows how to ensure a will maker's actual wishes will be honored.

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