Oklahoma families may want to take advantage of rising real estate prices to sell their loved one’s home after they die. Before they do so, they should be aware that there may be restrictions on how quickly they can do it and the decisions that they can make on their own.

When someone passes away and leaves a will, the estate must go through a process called probate. Any debts that the deceased owed must be paid before the beneficiaries are able to receive money and property. In other words, the first thing that happens is that creditors are paid. Then, the estate ends up being divided among the beneficiaries based on what remains.

At that point, the person who is designated as the executor of the will is in charge of the process of selling and disposing of the estate’s assets. Family members cannot act on their own to sell the home without the approval of the executor. This includes aspects of the sale such as which real estate agent to use and the listing price of the home.

If there is no executor, family members still do not have the ability to do what they want with regard to the home. The court will either appoint someone to handle the estate property or involve itself in the decision to sell the property.

Beneficiaries and executors may benefit from consulting with a probate attorney if they have any questions about the process. Probate can be a technical process, and there may be many delays. Legal help might minimize some of the things that could slow the distribution of the estate. If there is any dispute about the estate, the probate attorney may also help advocate their client’s position and work to resolve some of the outstanding issues.