Q: My father is executor of my grandmothers estate she verbally left the house to me. What is the next step? In Kansas
A: If you, your father, and brother represent all of the persons with a possible interest in your grandmother's estate, the three of you may enter into a valid settlement agreement that controls the ownership of property in the estate. There are several steps that you would have to follow to fulfill your grandmother's spoken wishes. From your perspective, the first step might be to enter into a valid settlement agreement with your father, brother and any other person whose interest is affected by the settlement agreement. A valid settlement agreement is a written agreement among persons whose interests would be affected by the agreement with their signatures acknowledged before a Notary Public. Persons affected could include any persons who would be entitled to receive the house under the terms of the will, any spouses of such persons, and if the validity of the will is in dispute or subject to dispute, it may also include heirs at law and their spouses. The next step would be to file a petition to probate the will, to appoint an executor, and to approve the valid settlement agreement. After the time for creditors to file claims has passed and all such claims have been paid, if the real property remains in the estate, then and in that event the court may distribute the property as directed in the valid settlement agreement. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to begin the process of probating the estate and presenting a settlement agreement to the court.
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