This is an issue in Tulsa County, Oklahoma. My sister-in-law died in a car accident in 2008. Her children are from her first marriage and are grown. She was married to her second husband when she died. She did not have a Will and I do not believe her estate went to probate. The question is regarding property which is in her name only and was given to her by her father within a few months/years of her accident. Her husband quitely taken the property and is paying the taxes which amount to $11.00 a year. The property is just a few acres of land with no dwellings on it. My husband and I were told that he cannot take this property and acquire it or transfer it to his name because he paid the taxes for 3 years or 5 years (which ever it may be believe to be in Tulsa) because this is considered "heir property" given that it was her father's property and her father transferred it to her a few months before he passed away. My questions are: #1) is there a law in Oklahoma which protects "heir property" from the spouse (or anyone else outside of family) from acquiring the property just because they had the tax bill sent to them and they paid it? #2) Who is considered the legal heir to property which is in a married person's name, but the spouse's name is XXXXX XXXXX on the deed? #3) Is there such a thing as "heir property" and it is protected from a spouse acquiring it, but goes to "family heirs"? #4) If so, can you provide me with documentation to prove this, be it written documentation or referenced statues? Thank you.
State/Country relating to question: Oklahoma
Talked with the children, relatives, a real estate professional, but nothing other than discussions.
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Oklahoma is not a community property state even though an Oklahoma statute exists stating that a husband and wife may hold property as community property. 43 O.S. 207.
So when the wife inherited the property, it amde no difference that it was aquired by inheritance. In community property states, property recieved by inheritance is not community property, thus the "heir property" your talking about. But it doesnt matter in OK, because it is not a community property state, ie, property aquired in marraige belings to the spouse that aquired it.
With that said, If a person dies without a will, the legislature has written a law determining how that person’s estate will be distributed at death. If a person dies without a will, the law enacted by our legislature for distributing the estate will be subject to any prenuptial marriage contract. Assuming there is no prenuptial contract, if the deceased leaves a spouse and children of their marriage, the surviving spouse receives one-half of all the property of the deceased, whether acquired by the joint industry of the husband and wife during marriage or otherwise. The remaining one-half of the estate passes in equal shares to the surviving children. When a person dies leaving a spouse and children, one or more of whom are children from a prior marriage, the surviving spouse receives one-half of the property acquired by the joint industry of the husband and wife during the marriage and the children share the other half equally.
All remaining property of the deceased person is shared equally by the surviving spouse and children of the deceased. Additionally, where a person’s child has predeceased them, if that deceased child is survived by children (the deceased person’s grandchildren), those grandchildren will receive the portion of the estate that their parent would have received if living.
As far as the 3 to 5 years of paying taxes is concerned, Ive never heard of a law that allows a person to put the deed to a property in thier name. Thats new to me. But regardless, without a will, the husband inherted half and the kids inherited the other half of the property.
If the property has not been distibuted in accordance with what I just provided, there may be some wrong doing and illigetimacy taking place. The property probably needs to be probated to ensure legitimacy.
For your reference, here is a link to a copy of the descent and distribution statute.
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