Property Distribution at the Time of One’s Death

What happens to a person’s property distribution at the time of one’s death?

If you own real property, like a house or land, as a joint tenant and that other person dies, you can transfer the deed into your name by filing the appropriate paperwork with the county clerk where the home or land is located. An experienced probate attorney can assist you with what paperwork needs to be filed, how to file that paperwork, and what other steps you may need to take.  

Many times it is only necessary to file an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant.  This form will need to be filled out by the surviving joint tenant and a certified death certificate included with the form.  If this option is available to you, once completed the property will be transferred into your name alone.  This is only available to you if you hold the property as joint tenants with a right of survivorship.

If your deed does not specify that you have a right of survivorship, you will likely need to speak with a probate attorney and settle the estate through probate. You will not be able to transfer, sell, or mortgage the property without first removing the deceased person’s name from the deed. 

Most transfer paperwork includes no less than the following:

  • A certified copy of the death certificate issued by the State of Oklahoma (or the State where the person had established legal residence at the time of their death)
  • A notarized affidavit which must include:
    • A statement that you are the surviving tenant,
    • A legal description of the property,
    • A statement that the person on the death certificate is the same person as the deceased joint tenant
  • If the person who will sign the affidavit is the executor of the estate you will need to attach a certified copy of Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, Letters of Guardianship, and/or Durable Power of Attorney.

If you are the owner of a real estate property in Oklahoma, you have the option of filling out a Transfer on Death Deed prior to your death.  This Transfer on Death Deed will allow you to transfer the property outside of probate so long as it is properly executed.  This is a simple way to transfer your property, avoid probate, and avoid unnecessary expense for your loved ones.

There are similar options to transfer a titled vehicle before or after a person dies.  These forms are available at our office or at any tag agency.  

Call our office at (918) 947-8102 for a free consultation with an experienced estate attorney and to learn about the different options to achieve a simple, uncomplicated estate plan.

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