Oklahoma Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Oklahoma

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in Oklahoma, but does contain basic and other provisions. This summary does not discuss hand written wills or the situation where the testator cannot sign his or her name.

Persons Who May Make a Will: A. Every person over the age of eighteen (18) years of sound mind may, by last will, dispose of all his estate, real and personal. 84 Okl. St. § 41

Person Subject to Guardianship or Conservatorship: The appointment of a guardian or a conservator does not prohibit a person from disposing of his estate, real and personal, by will; provided, that when any person subject to a guardianship or conservatorship shall dispose of such estate by will, such will must be subscribed and acknowledged in the presence of a judge of the district court. The judge before whom the will is subscribed and acknowledged shall attest to the execution of the will but shall have neither the duty nor the authority to approve or disapprove the contents of the will. Subscribing and acknowledging such will before a judge shall not render such will valid if it would otherwise be invalid. §41.

Procurement of Will or Revocation by Duress, Menace, Fraud or Undue Influence: A will or part of a will procured to be made by duress, menace, fraud or undue influence, may be denied probate; and a revocation procured by the same means, may be declared void. §43.

Property Acquired by Joint Industry:
1. Every estate in property may be disposed of by will except that a will shall be subservient to any antenuptial marriage contract in writing. In addition, no spouse shall bequeath or devise away from the other so much of the estate of the testator that the other spouse would receive less in value than an undivided one-half (1/2) interest in the property acquired by the joint industry of the husband and wife during coverture. No person shall by will dispose of property which could not be by the testator alienated, encumbered or conveyed while living, except that the homestead may be devised by one spouse to the other.

2. The spouse of a decedent has a right of election to take the one-half (1/2) interest in the property as provided in paragraph 1 of this subsection in lieu of all devises, legacies and bequests for the benefit of the spouse contained in the last will and testament of the decedent.

3. If the surviving spouse desires to make the election provided in paragraph 2 of this subsection to take the property specified therein in lieu of all devises, legacies and bequests for the benefit of the surviving spouse contained in the last will and testament of a decedent, then the surviving spouse shall make such election affirmatively in writing, which writing shall be filed in the district court in which the estate of the decedent is being administered on or before the final date for hearing of the petition for final distribution of the estate. The court clerk shall immediately mail a copy of such election to the personal representative of the estate and to all attorneys of record of the estate. Such written election of the surviving spouse shall be in the form of a writing separate from all other pleadings and documents filed in the district court in which the estate is being administered. Failure of the surviving spouse to substantially comply with the provisions of this subsection shall render the attempted election by the surviving spouse void and of no force or effect; provided that such failure shall not prohibit the surviving spouse from making a subsequent election within the allotted time period, which substantially complies with this subsection.

4. The right of election of the surviving spouse provided for in paragraph 2 of this subsection is personal to the surviving spouse and may be exercised only during the lifetime of the surviving spouse. However, if there has been a guardian or conservator duly appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and such court has judicially determined the surviving spouse to be incompetent, then such guardian or conservator may make the election on behalf of the surviving spouse, but only if the same is approved by the court having jurisdiction over such guardian or conservator. Further, a certified copy of the document or documents evidencing the appointment of such guardian or conservator for the surviving spouse, and a certified copy of the order of the applicable court approving such guardian’s or conservator’s making such election on behalf of the surviving spouse, shall be attached to the election, which shall also be in substantial compliance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of this subsection, or such election shall be void and of no force or effect. The guardian or conservator may be appointed in any state, and may have been appointed at any time prior to the expiration of the time permitted for the election to be made as provided in paragraph 3 of this subsection. § 44.

Persons Capable by Law May Take-Corporations Excepted: A testamentary disposition may be made to any person capable by law of taking the property so disposed of, except that no corporation can take under a will, unless expressly authorized by its charter or by statute so to take. § 45.

Nuncupative wills: To make a nuncupative will valid, and to entitle it to be admitted to probate:

  1. The estate bequeathed must not exceed in value the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00).2. It must be proved by two witnesses who were present at the making thereof, one of whom was asked by the testator at the time to bear witness that such was his will, or to that effect.

    3. The decedent must at the time, have been in actual military service in the field, or doing duty on shipboard at sea, and in either case in actual contemplation, fear or peril of death, or the decedent must have been at the time in expectation of immediate death from an injury received the same day. 46.

Nuncupative will need not be in writing: A nuncupative will is not required to be in writing, nor to be declared or attested with any formalities. § 51.

Mutual Wills-Revocation: A conjoint or mutual will is valid, but it may be revoked by any of the testators in like manner with any other will. § 52.

Execution of Wills: Every will shall be in writing; and every will, must be executed and attested as follows:

1. It must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself, or some person, in his presence and by his direction, must subscribe his name thereto.

2. The subscription must be made in the presence of the attesting witnesses, or be acknowledged by the testator to them, to have been made by him or by his authority.

3. The testator must, at the time of subscribing or acknowledging the same, declare to the attesting witnesses that the instrument is his will.

4. There must be two attesting witnesses, each of whom must sign his name as a witness at the end of the will at the testator’s request and in his presence. § 55.

Witness to Write Name and Place of Residence-Subscription of Testator’s Name by Direction: A witness to a written will must write, with his name, his place of residence; and a person who subscribed the testator’s name, by his direction, must write his own name as a witness to the will. But a violation of this section does not affect the validity of the will. § 56.

Execution According to Law of Place Where Made Validates Will or Revocation: A will, or a revocation thereof, made out of this state by a person not having his domicile in this state; is as valid when executed according to the law of the place in which the same was made, or in which the testator was at the time domiciled, as if it were made in this state, and according to the provisions of this article. § 71.

Will or Revocation Executed According to Law: No will or revocation is valid unless executed either according to the provisions of this article, or according to the law of the place in which it was made, or in which the testator was at the time domiciled. §  72.

Wills Deposited with Judge of the District Court-Procedure: Every judge of the district court must deposit in his office any will delivered to him for that purpose, and give a written receipt to the depositor; and must enclose such will in a sealed wrapper, so that it cannot be read, and endorse thereon the name of the testator, his residence, and the date of the deposit; and such wrapper must not be opened until its delivery under the provisions of the next section. § 81.

Deposited Wills-Delivery: A will deposited under the provisions of the last section must be delivered only:
1. To the testator in person.
2. Upon his written order, duly proved by the oath of a subscribing witness.
3. After his death, to the person, if any, name in the endorsement on the wrapper of the will; or,
4. If there is no such endorsement, and if the will was not deposited with the judge of the district court having jurisdiction of its probate, then to the judge of the district court who has jurisdiction. § 82.

Will Deposited with Judge-Duties Upon Death of Testator: The judge of the district court with whom a will is deposited, or to whom it is delivered, must, after the death of the testator, publicly open and examine the will and file in his office, there to remain until duly proved, or to deliver it to the judge of the district court having jurisdiction of its probate. § 83.

Revocation or Alteration of Wills: No written will, nor any part thereof, can be revoked or altered otherwise than:

1. By a written will or other writing of the testator, declaring such revocation or alteration, and executed with the same formalities with which a will should be executed by such testator; or,

2. By being burnt, torn, canceled, obliterated or destroyed, with intent and for the purpose of revoking the same, by the testator himself, or by some person in his presence and by his direction. § 101.

Revocation of Prior Will by Subsequent: A prior will is not revoked by a subsequent will, unless the latter contains an express revocation, or provisions wholly inconsistent with the terms of the former will; but in other cases the prior will remains effectual so far as consistent with the provisions of the subsequent will. § 105.

Revocation of Will Revokes Codicils: The revocation of a will revokes all its codicils. § 113.

Divorce or Annulment as Revoking Will: If, after making a will, the testator is divorced, all provisions in such will in favor of the testator’s spouse so divorced are thereby revoked. Annulment of the testator’s marriage shall have the same effect as a divorce. In the event of either divorce or annulment, the testator’s former spouse shall be treated for all purposes under the will as having predeceased the testator. Provided, however, this section shall not apply if the decree of divorce or of annulment is vacated or if the testator remarries his former spouse, or following said divorce or annulment, executes a new will or codicil which is not revoked or held invalid. B. This section shall apply to any will of a decedent dying on or after November 1, 1987. § 114.

Bequest to Subscribing Witness Void: All beneficial devises, legacies or gifts whatever, made or given in any will to a subscribing witness thereto, are void unless there are two other competent subscribing witnesses to the same; but a mere charge on the estate of the testator for the payment of debts does not prevent his creditors from being competent witnesses to the will. 143.

Share of Witnesses if Entitled to Share Without the Will: If a witness to whom any beneficial devise, legacy or gift, void by the preceding section, is made, would have been entitled to any share of the estate of the testator, in case the will should not be established, he succeeds to so much of the share as would be distributed to him, not exceeding the devise or bequest made to him in the will, and he may recover the same of the other devisees or legatees name in the will, in proportion to and out of the parts devised or bequeathed to them. 144.

Inside Oklahoma Last Will and Testament Law