In most real estate transactions, a title examination is completed to ensure that the person(s) claiming to be the property owner actually owns the property. A title examination is usually conducted as part of the process of issuing a title insurance policy. A title examination also identifies title defects, including: negative easements, loans or liens against the property.
Upon completion of the title examination the title insurer generally issues a title commitment. A title commitment usually contains a list requirements which must be met before the insurer issues the new title policy. That is where we come in. We assist our clients in clearing defects in the chain of title, especially those related to a decedent.
Although we have assisted clients in the removal of all sorts of title defects, some common defects related to probate include: the failure to probate an estate; an error in the probate of an estate; failure to terminate a joint tenancy; an error in the termination of a joint tenancy; mortgage releases from a decedent's probate estate or trust; or, failure to properly document a trust or the termination of a trust.
When these issues are identified in a title examination, usually a sale is pending. Time becomes critical. If defects aren't cleared quickly a sale could be lost. Given today's real estate market, you don't want to lose a buyer. Your time on the market may double, or worse.
We are sensitive to these concerns, and we have helped many people through these issues. Probate and clearing title involving probate issues does not have to mean the loss of your sale. It doesn't have to take forever either. If everyone concerned is in agreement, within about 2 weeks, a simple needed probate can be processed to the point where the sale can proceed. Completion of the probate may take additional time (generally 90 days or so) before distributions can be made.
Give us a call if you have an Oklahoma title defect related to a probate or decedent issue which you would like cleared. We can discuss the proper way to clear the defect, whether through probate or some other non-probate means.
Many times an oil and gas or other mineral producer will continue to make payments for its production to those it believes to be the proper heirs or successors of a deceased mineral owner. Often this is accomplished through an affidavit of heirship. Although such a document keeps payments flowing, it is not the equivalent of a probate or estate administration.
In a probate or estate administration, a court enters an order distributing a deceased person's property. Probate procedure assures that title held by a decedent is passed to the proper persons. Some mineral producers will only release production proceeds upon the transmission of a properly filed order from a probate court.
If you are having difficulty with the oil and gas or other mineral interests of a deceased prior owner, give us a call so that we can discuss how we may be able to help.
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