Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person’s estate (money, property, etc.). Most of us have heard the stories about how lonnnnng and headache-filled the probate process can be and so we dread ever having to face it….
The reality is that, IF done right, the probate process for a house in Oklahoma City can be as simple as four easy steps. The flip side is that both the stress and unknowns in probate often open people up to certain local, probate scams. As a company that legally buys dozens of houses in probate every year, we know the scammers when we see them. Below are some tips on how to avoid getting scammed….
The Probate Process for a House in Oklahoma City – How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Probate Process for a House in Oklahoma City
Without the right kind of trust in place, probate usually follows a person’s death. Probate is the process by which the deceased’s debts are settled and his or her property (held on his or her name alone and not otherwise legally distributed) is transferred to beneficiaries and heirs. Property can be cars, houses, money, land, stocks.
Typically, the probate process follows four steps. None should be done without consulting an attorney!!! Heaton Law Firm is one we trust and use often.
- The first step involves filing a petition with the court to admit the will and appoint an executor (manager of the estate) OR, if there’s no will, to appoint an administrator of the estate. A hearing date is set, and notice of the hearing is published locally in the paper.
- After being appointed by the court, the decedent’s personal representative gives notice to all creditors (people owed money), and an inventory of the estate is made (add up all valuable possessions).
- After determining which debt claims are legitimate, the personal representative pays all expenses, debts, and taxes from the estate. Sometimes, this involves selling estate assets (houses, cars, other items) to come up with the money to pay those debts.
- Assets (legal title to a house, for instance) are disbursed according to the decedent’s wishes expressed in the will or, in case there is no will, according to the state’s succession laws.
That’s it for the probate process for a house in Oklahoma City!! It seems simple and can be completed in 30-45 days with the right attorney. Sometimes, if the family disagrees on things, it can drag out for months though. Just be wary about any scams that may pop up along the way…..
Common Probate Scams in OKC
These are some new twists on old scams that owe their re-birth (and effectiveness) mainly to the Internet and e-mail. They always, however, target the vulnerable folks that find themselves in the middle of a probate situation….
- Probate Avoidance Scam – The perpetrators of this scam usually target the elderly. It involves persuading victims to buy fraudulent products that purport to help them avoid probate. For example, a very expensive living trust kit. Once the scammers have the money in their hands, they either never deliver or provide a product that is actually legally useless (basically a stack of papers).
- Inheritance/Estate Tax Scam – Some states still levy an inheritance or estate tax against heirs. Using a trusted person’s or organization’s name, scammers contact potential executors/personal representatives informing them that they stand to inherit a bunch of money. The only catch is that – because in these states the tax must be paid before probate can go forward – the victims must first send the scammers an inflated tax.
- Fraudulent Listings Scam – This one owes its effectiveness to the popularity of sites like Craigslist for home shoppers, especially renters, and applies particularly to the probate process for a house in Oklahoma City. Scammers research the property of recently deceased individuals and advertise it for rent. Then, when the scammers collect the deposit and first month’s rent, they disappear, leaving the people engaged in probate to deal with the upset victim.
If you’re facing probate, especially the probate process for a house in Oklahoma City, it’s probably not as ominous and frightening as it first seems. Knowing what it involves and being aware of the common probate scams are good first steps – but there’s more to consider.
The best way to avoid these scams is to only talk to a company like us or an attorney first. We’ve worked with a lot of attorneys over the years to buy houses from heirs in probate. We know who to trust around town and who can get the job done. If you need a referral on a good probate attorney, don’t hesitate to ask us.
W Properties deals with probate almost weekly. We help folks by understanding the process, connecting with a trusted and local attorney, but mostly by buying houses that are involved in the probate. Since we buy houses as-is and can close whenever it makes it easy for the heirs to turn a house, no matter the condition, into cash they can use pretty quickly. Best of all, you don’t have to clean or repair anything so no money or time out of your pocket.