Adventures in Executorship 2 – Letters

Date: 6 May 2013 Comments: 0

It has been a little time since anything interesting has happened but this last weekend has been interesting. At this point I am over halfway through the Christianson book and have been trying to complete his legal audit form (not required but easier to present to court). I also have received a letter from the attorney that contained the (as yet unofficial) Letters Testamentary and Petition to Probate requesting my signature. The Letters Testamentary is pretty easy and short and I was surprised at how little information it actually contains. Either way, I have signed it and the Petition and returned to the attorney.

For those who are wondering about these two papers, here you are:

1. The Letters Testamentary is a letter that must be signed by myself, notarized, and signed by a judge. Basically it says that whomever is listed on this letter is the intended executor of the estate and is responsible for the management of the estate to which they are assigned. This letter is unique in that it is the product of someone who HAD a will. If the deceased did not have a will when they died, the estate is considered ‘intestate’ which basically means the court will pick whomever they deem fit to execute the estate which is usually the nearest next of kin. If this was the case, I would have to complete the “Letters of Administration” instead. Thankfully my father had a will so the person he wanted to be his executor… me… will be able to do so.

2. The Petition to Probate is a less fun document. Prior to his passing, my father could have compelted a “Letter of Appointment” to add me as the executor of his estate in which case, It would simply have to be approved by a judge at the time it was made. In fact, I even asked my dad if he would create one back in 2011 when he put this all together but we simply didn’t get around to drafting it. That being the case, the estate must pass into ‘probate’ which is basically estate purgatory until an executor can be assigned. What this Petition to Probate basically does is say “Hey! We want this guy to be the executor.” and then it is passed to the other stakeholders in the estate (namely my brother and sister) for approval. Since both my brother and sister have already said that they don’ t want to be executor, they should sign this pretty quickly and get the ball rolling. Once the petition is signed by the judge and family members, it can be approved which will thusly make the Letters Testamentary (see above) fully ratified and the executorship can begin.

Other than these items, there has not been too much going on with the estate. We hired our family handyman to come and fix the back window at Dad’s house and he even pulled up all the old carpet (it was old and cat stained). Much to our amazement, all of the rooms except my old room had hard woods underneath which are actually in pretty good shape. Seeing those pictures of the floor hidden under the old carpet was quite amazing. It made me think that back in the day when this house was built (1940’s) it must have been a pretty nice place. If someone in the family wanted to live in the house, I could see the value in putting the effort in to get the house in good shape but I simply don’t think anyone in our family wants it. I could rent it, true, but that brings about new headaches of a different kind. We shall see.

I didn’t get to visit town last weekend because my wife was taking our daughter to Girl Scout camp and I was watching our two toddler boys. Had I taken them to McAlester, they would have likely wrecked Dad’s house or hurt themselves running rampant in a very kid unfriendly place (dad lived alone and was older so he was unconcerned with many things in his house that we must be aware of with kiddos). This weekend looks much more likely to work out since my wife already wants to go down to see her stepmom and dad for mother’s day and will take the kiddos with her. That being the case, I should have most of the evening on Friday and a large part of Saturday free to start documenting things in the estate. I may be able to do some work on Sunday as well but I may also have to return to my home church on Sunday to help with things. I am still debating what to do in this case.

Either way, the estate is progressing slowly but once the estate is opened, my hair may be on fire. The book I am reading actually says that once an estate is open in Oklahoma (it has an appendix after each chapter with rules from different states) it usually is expected to be completely documented and complete within 2 months. If that’s still the case then this will be a wild ride. That’s all for now.

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