Q: My father died. He and my mother owned land as tenants in common. She wants to sell the land. There was no will.
My mother and I are the only surviving beneficiaries. I don’t care anything about inheriting the land. We just want the quickest and easiest way to get the land out of his name so that we can sell. He died in and owned land in McClain County, Oklahoma. Do we need to go through probate? If so, is this something we can do ourselves or do we need to hire an attorney?
A: First, I'm sorry for your loss. If the land was owned as tenants in common, a probate will be necessary to transfer your father's interest in the land to his heirs. You can always file a probate on your own, although hiring an attorney to do the probate can make the process easier on you.
A: I agree with Chantelle. I'd also add that it's wise to hire a probate attorney because personal representatives are personally liable for the mistakes they make during probate, whether that’s failing to pay creditors, failing to properly maintain the assets during probate, or failing to ensure each heir receives his/her proper inheritance. Furthermore, getting probate right isn’t just about avoiding personal liability. It’s also about ensuring that everyone involved exits the process with their relationships intact. An attorney can provide invaluable guidance in these areas.
For simple estates, most probate attorneys offer flat fees that are often much more affordable than you'd think, and usually the probate can be conducted without any heirs having to appear in court in Oklahoma.
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