A last will and testament is a legal document that memorializes the will writer’s true intent and directs the representative on how to dispose of his property after his death.  The document itself is called the Last Will and Testament, and the writer is called a Testator if male and Testatrix if female.  Likewise, the person appointed by the Testator in the will to ensure his intent is faithfully carried out under the will is called the personal representative.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions, which are intended to clarify only some basic issues related to Oklahoma’s last will and testament.  No two estate plans are the same, therefore it’s important to consult with an estate planning attorney and discuss your situation before you develop an estate plan.  If you need help writing a will or preparing any other estate plan documents, please contact Niroula Law by calling (405) 456-9250, or by filling out the Contact Us Form.

Can I make my own will in Oklahoma?

Yes, under Oklahoma law you may make your own will, and you may do so by writing the will with your own hands.  See 84 O.S. § 54.  A handwritten will is called a holographic will and is recognized as a valid will in Oklahoma.  However, it must follow some guidelines.  A valid holographic will must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself.  Execution of such a will need not be witnessed, and it may be made in or out of Oklahoma.

What makes a valid self-proved will in Oklahoma?

Other than a holographic will, another common type of will in Oklahoma is a self-proved will.  It’s called a self-proved will because it consists of the affidavit of the testator and the two (2) witnesses, and therefore the witnesses are not required to testify again in court during the probate process, to attest to its validity.  A self-proved will must satisfy the following criteria:  84 O.S. § 55.

  • Must be in writing;
  • Must be signed by the testator, or another person, in his presence, and by his direction;
  • Must be signed in the presence of two (2) witnesses;
  • Testator must declare to the witnesses that the document is his will;
  • Both the witnesses must sign his name at the end of the will, at the testator’s request, and in his presence;
  • Testator and both the witnesses must declare and sign that the document is his last will and testament, and that he willingly made and executed as his free act; and
  • The witnesses must declare that the testator has declared to them that the document is his last will and testament, that he signed and wanted them to sign as witnessed and they did sign in his presence.
  • A self-proved will must be attested by a notary.

Are handwritten wills legal in Oklahoma?

Yes, a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will is legal in Oklahoma.  However, it must follow certain rules.  It must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the testator himself.  If it’s not handwritten in its entirety by the testator, it’s not a valid holographic will. Any typing or printing in addition to the handwritten will render it invalid.  Such a will is not required to be witnessed or notarized.

How much does a simple will cost in Oklahoma?

If you are thinking about hiring an estate planning attorney to write a will for yourself or a loved one, you may be wondering how much is it going to cost.  The short answer is, it depends.  A simple will that doesn’t have to dispose of a significant amount of property and has very few beneficiaries may cost you a few hundred dollars.  However, depending on the complexity of your financial, familial, or property situation, it may cost you up to several thousand dollars.

What are the legal requirements of a valid will in Oklahoma?

Generally, for a will to be valid in Oklahoma it must be in writing, signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, and signed by each of the two attesting witnesses at the testator’s request and in his presence. 84 O.S. § 55.  Although the fulfillment of these requirements renders a will valid, the preferred type of will is by far the self-proved will.

Does a last will and testament need to be notarized in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma law does not require the last will and testament to be notarized in order for it to be valid.  However, if you want your will to be self-proved, then it must be notarized.  A self-proved will prevents the witnesses from having to testify during the probate process.

Do wills have to be filed in court in Oklahoma?

No, you are not required to file the last will and testament with the court, or at any other place for that matter.  However, it’s important to make sure that it is stored in a safe and secure place.  Some of the preferred places to store a will are a safe-deposit box, a fire-safe box, or a corporate executor.  If your personal representative has a hard time locating your will, it can possibly complicate or delay your probate process.  Make sure that it is stored safely, but at the same time ensure that it is in a place that is easily accessible by your personal representative.

What is a living will in Oklahoma?

A living will in Oklahoma is not actually a will.  It’s a legal document signed by the person making the living will, and witnessed and signed by two witnesses over the age of 18.  The document describes in detail the medical preference of that person in an end-of-life situation.  A living will provide specific instructions to the health care providers and your health care proxy when the physicians determine that you are no longer able to make your own medical decisions.

These instructions relate to the administration of life-sustaining treatment including artificially administered food and drinks.  They cover end-of-life situations like a terminal condition resulting in death within six (6) months, persistent unconsciousness, and an end-stage condition caused by a certain injury, disease, or illness. Oklahoma law does not require a living will to be notarized.

Who can make a will in Oklahoma?

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and of a sound mind can make and execute a valid will in Oklahoma.  Although it may be hard to precisely pinpoint what a sound mind looks like, it speaks to the testamentary capacity of the testator.  Generally, a person with a testamentary capacity has an understanding of who his heirs are, has a concept of his estate, and how he wants to dispose of the estate to the beneficiaries.

Do I need to hire an attorney to write a will?

No, you are not required to hire an attorney to write a will.  However, the last will and testament is a very technical legal document, and it must be drafted so that it conforms to all Oklahoma statutory requirements.  Any minor error or omission can render the document invalid, costing unnecessary time and money to your loved ones.

If you are thinking about writing a will for yourself or a loved one, please give Niroula Law a call at (405) 456-9250 or get in touch with us by filling out the Contact Us Form.  Niroula Law can help you navigate the process from start to finish. Right from the beginning we will discuss your situation, assess your estate, and make appropriate recommendations to help you select an estate plan that suits your need.