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  • Writer's pictureMeason & Morris Law

Have a House in Probate? Know What to Do in Bartlesville, OK


A white wooden house surrounded by overgrown green shrubs and a white fence.
Meason & Morris Law discusses what to do if your house is in probate.

Inheriting a house can be an exciting time, filled with dreams of renovations, new memories, or even a fresh start. But when the house goes through probate in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, things can get a little confusing.


If you have property in probate, keep reading! This blog from Meason & Morris Law clarifies what happens to a house in probate. It helps you navigate this legal process with confidence.


Probate 101: What Does It Mean?

Probate is the legal process that oversees the distribution of a deceased person's assets (everything they owned) after their death. This includes real estate like houses, as well as financial accounts, vehicles, and personal belongings.


The probate court ensures everything is handled fairly and according to the deceased's wishes (if a will exists) or Oklahoma state law (if there's no will). This is why many people find it helpful to hire a probate lawyer to help navigate the legalities of probate.


Ways to minimize or avoid probate:

While probate is a standard process, there are ways to streamline or even avoid it altogether. Consider creating a living trust, which transfers ownership of the house to the trust during your lifetime. You can then designate beneficiaries to receive the house upon your passing, bypassing probate court.


Additionally, you can explore joint ownership with "right of survivorship." This automatically transfers ownership of the house to the surviving owner when one co-owner passes away, again avoiding probate. It's important to discuss these options with an experienced attorney to determine the best approach for your specific situation and long-term goals.


Some positives of probate:

While probate can feel like a hurdle, it offers important benefits.

  • Firstly, it ensures the deceased's wishes are followed. A valid will clearly outlines who inherits the house and other assets, reducing any potential conflict among family members.

  • Secondly, probate provides a legal framework for settling debts and taxes, guaranteeing creditors are fairly compensated and the estate remains solvent.

  • Finally, the court oversight ensures a transparent and accountable process, minimizing the risk of fraud or mismanagement of assets during distribution.


So, What Happens to My Inherited House?

Here's a breakdown of the typical journey a house takes during probate in Bartlesville, OK:

  1. Filing for Probate: The first step involves filing a petition with the Washington County District Court to begin the probate process. This petition typically names an executor (the person responsible for managing the estate) and outlines the deceased's assets, including the house.

  2. Inventory and Appraisal: The executor will create a detailed list of all the deceased's assets, including the house. The house will also be appraised by a professional to determine its current market value.

  3. Debt Settlement: The probate court will identify and pay off any outstanding debts of the deceased using estate funds. This might include mortgages, property taxes, or unpaid loans.

  4. Paying Taxes: Estate taxes might apply depending on the total value of the estate. The executor will handle these payments before distributing assets.

  5. Distribution of Assets: Once debts and taxes are settled, the court will determine who inherits the house. This might be based on a will that specifies the beneficiary(ies), or by Oklahoma's intestacy laws if there's no will.


Important Considerations:

  • Will vs. No Will: Having a valid will significantly simplifies the probate process. The will clearly outlines the deceased's wishes for their assets, including the house. If there's no will, the state's intestacy laws dictate how the house is distributed, which might not align with the deceased's original intentions.

  • Timeframe: Probate can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the estate. Factors like contesting the will, multiple heirs, or dealing with creditors can lengthen the process.

  • Costs: Legal fees, court filing costs, and appraisal fees are all associated with probate. The executor is responsible for managing these expenses using estate funds.


While inheriting a house can be a blessing, navigating the probate process can be a burden for your loved ones. Taking some proactive steps now through estate planning can significantly ease their stress and ensure your wishes are followed.


Consider creating a will or living trust, which clearly outlines your desires for your assets, including the house. By planning ahead, you can give your loved ones the gift of clarity and peace of mind during an already emotional time. Working with an estate planning attorney will help you pass along peace of mind to those you leave behind.


What Can Meason & Morris Law Do for You?

The average person won't encounter probate very often in their lifetime, depending on their involvement with estates. You might only deal with it as an executor settling a loved one's affairs, or potentially inheriting property yourself.


This infrequent interaction can make the process seem confusing. If you're facing probate in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, don't hesitate to reach out to Meason & Morris Law. Our experienced team can guide you through every step.


Probate can be a complex process, especially for those unfamiliar with legal procedures. Our experienced attorneys at Meason & Morris Law in Bartlesville, OK, can guide you through every step. We offer a range of services tailored to your specific situation, including:

  • Assisting with the probate filing process

  • Representing you in probate court

  • Helping navigate legal complexities

  • Ensuring proper distribution of assets, including the house

  • Addressing any unexpected challenges that may arise


Taking the Next Step

Inheriting a house can be a wonderful gift. While probate adds a legal layer, it ensures everything is handled fairly and according to the law. Contact Meason & Morris Law in Bartlesville, OK today to schedule a consultation.


Our knowledgeable and compassionate team will answer your questions, address your concerns, and ensure you navigate the probate process with confidence. Together, we can turn this inherited house into a positive new chapter in your life.


At Meason & Morris Law, our dedicated team in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, possesses extensive experience guiding clients through the intricacies of probate. For over 50 combined years, we've built a strong reputation for our personalized approach, clear communication, and unwavering commitment to achieving the best outcome for our clients.


Our attorneys stay current on the latest Oklahoma probate laws and procedures, ensuring you receive the most up-to-date and effective legal representation throughout the process. Don't navigate probate alone - trust Meason & Morris Law to handle the legal complexities with experience and compassion.


Learn more about Meason & Morris Law. Click here.

 

Meason & Morris Law is a legal firm led by seasoned attorneys Marty Meason and Chris Morris. We provide a professional experience for all our clients, helping them navigate their legal rights. We focus on Criminal Justice Law (felonies and misdemeanors), Divorce and Family Law, Expungement and Felony Law, Probate Law and also have Trial experience. We are currently accepting cases in Washington, Nowata, Osage and Rogers counties.


Meason & Morris Law

515 Delaware Ave

Bartlesville, OK 74003

918-336-6300

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