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Roger
Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31015
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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My fiancé just found out that his late fathers house in

Customer Question

My fiancé just found out that his late fathers house in Oklahoma never went through probate his fathers girlfriend said she was handling everything and recently said she never did and she moved to Oregon and rented the house out. The tenants stopped paying her rent and she told us she couldn't handle it and told us to handle everything but our name is ***** ***** and they said a police officer told them they don't need to speak to us regarding anything and told them the complete opposite as he told us. At this point what can we do?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Hi - my name is ***** ***** I'll be glad to assist.

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Do you know i your fiance's father had a will?

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Hi - I'm currently traveling and can't take a call, but I'm happy to continue with you here...

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

If your fiance's father's estate has not been probated, then the title would still be in his name, and you would have to process his estate through probate (will) or administration (no will) in order to transfer title to his heirs at law (which would be his children if he wasn't married at the time of his death.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He didn't have a will but my fiancé is his only child and his girlfriThank you I'd greatly appreciate it we live in California and had no idea this was going on until everything was already a big mess. The lease was very poorly written as his fathers girlfriend really didn't know what she was doing and We told the tenant due to non payment and moving other people into the home andhaving the utilities shut off that they can choose to leave in 30 day which would be tomorrow without needing to pay back rent or we will have to go through the eviction process and we want to sue for loss of wages and cost of travel. We sent a police officer to check on the house because we heard they have pets and they have been really wishy washy so I wanted to make sure nothing illegal was going on but from what the tenant said the police officer said that they don't need to respond to us they don't need to move and we have no rights to anything because our names not on the lease
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Ok. Thanks for the information.

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

If he's the only child, and his dad wasn't married, then he should be the sole heir at law and beneficiary of the estate. Thus, he can file a petition to administer the estate and be appointed as the estate representative (administrator).....at that point, he can take action on behalf of the estate, evict the tenants, etc.

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Once the estate closes, title to the house and any other property would transfer to him....and he'd be the owner of the property and could do keep it, sell it, or whatever he chooses.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I understand this but at this point our primary concern is getting these people out of the home no one is contesting that it is his house is this something he can do without needing to leave the state and miss work
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

I understand that, and in order to do so, he'll have to open his dad's estate and be appointed as the estate representative. Once he gets appointed, he can then remove the tenants through an eviction action on behalf of the estate.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is this something he has to do in person or can he do this via mail
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The girlfriend also sold everything in the home so the estate is literally just the house
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

If he hires an attorney, he can probably do this remotely without having to appear (or with one or a minimum number of appearances).

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok since it is a fairly simple probate case is there a way for us to go through the probate ourselves without a lawyer I'm worried about the cost of all this especially considering these tenant are not there of any choice of our own
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

It is possible, but if he does it himself, he's probably going to have to make several appearances before the court....so it is likely going to be cheaper to hire a lawyer as opposed to traveling back and forth multiple times to get the estate completed. Also, if the court doesn't have forms to use for probate, it could be a little overwhelming.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok I understand is the police officer giving them valid information in telling them that they do not need to do anything regarding responding too us due to our names not being on the lease
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Technically, yes. Your fiancé has no authority to act until the court appoints him as the estate representative.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
who has authority the person on the lease?
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

The homeowner --- which would be your fiance's dad........so his estate would now have authority.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Are we able to sue for loss of wages and travel cost and legal fees
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

You can ask for it, but it is not likely that the judge will award it.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
essentially since the estate has no one appointed no one has any authority
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

That's right.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
the fact that someone who doesn't own the property sold all the stuff in the estate and rented it out means nothing it seems if that's the case then anyone could charge rent for anyone's vacant house
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

No, that person could be pursued for entering into an invalid contract and could be pursued for selling property of the estate as well, but your fiancé would have to be appointed as the estate representative in order to pursue any claims that his dad may have.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
But it would be his dad's girlfriend that would be held responsible for this then not the tenants
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
She also states that on his death certificate she is listed as the spouse but she never filed taxes with him would this be considered common law marriage
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

The tenant's would have to be evicted if you don't want them there.....but if the girlfriend leased the property and sold your dad's things without permission, she would be who you'd have to sue over that.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
tenants who have caused all these issues with non payment and getting utilities shut off due to non payment get off with nothing and can live there and destroy what they want because someone with no authority over the estate decided to rent it out.
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

If she and his father were married under common law, that's another issue. OK is one of a handful of states that recognizes common-law marriage. IF they were married, then she and your fiancé would be the beneficiaries of his estate. However, she still wouldn't have authority to act on his behalf until appointed by the court.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
What would constitute common law marriage in Oklahoma I was told by another lawyer that she would need to have more proof than the death certificate and she would have had to have been filing taxes jointly with him.
Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

In any event, the main issue now is to open the estate and have someone appointed as the representative of the estate and that person can then get rid of the tenants.

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Here's a good link that outlines what courts in OK look to in order to determine whether a common law marriage exists: http://www.divorcenet.com/states/oklahoma/common_law_marriage_in_oklahoma#b

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

The main rules are that the couple held itself out as husband and wife, referred to one another as husband and wife, lived together, etc.

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Thanks for your question and please let me know if need anything further. Also, please take time to positively rate our conversation so I may receive credit for assisting.

Expert:  Roger replied 2 months ago.

Thanks for your question and please let me know if need anything further. Also, please take time to positively rate our conversation so I may receive credit for assisting.

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