Section 239 Sale in Oklahoma

When real estate is owned by an individual who has died, the property must typically be handled via probate. A will (or “last will and testament”) alone cannot transfer ownership of real estate or land to the designated successor, even if they are listed in the will as the intended recipient of the property. This information also generally applies to mineral interests and higher value personal property (such as a mobile/manufactured home, car, boat, RV, and other items which have a certificate of title under Oklahoma law). 

You may have heard of a “239 sale,” which is a reference to Oklahoma Statutes, title 58, section 239; this section is often used to sell real estate owned by a decedent while the probate case is still ongoing and not yet complete. It can help expedite the sale of properties in some instances or expressly authorize a sale that is pending at the time a party to a real estate transaction dies. 

Why would the estate need to sell a property in probate?

Every family’s situation is different; some families can’t agree on who will live in the deceased family member’s house, while others view a family member’s passing as an opportunity to “cash out” of all estate assets. For some individuals, their will contains a clause that directs the estate to sell all real estate after their passing. One of the most common reasons the estate sells the real estate is the decedent’s estate has debts which must be paid, and a home is the largest and most valuable asset the representative of the estate can sell in order to satisfy those debts.

How does a probate case fix a real estate deed issue?

A probate court has authority to allow sales and dispositions of property owned by the now deceased owner. Once the court has authorized the sale, the title to real estate can be transferred to the next owner by and through a deed signed by the representative of the deceased person’s estate (the probate estate). 

What is the process for selling real estate out of probate?

Oklahoma probate law allows the representative of a probate estate to request permission to sell the property with a filing in the probate case. These filings are frequently filed with the permission and consent of all heirs and beneficiaries who are interested in the estate of the deceased individual. The court can allow a public auction or private sale. 

Who signs a deed on behalf of a dead person?

When the property has been properly probated and the court has issued an order allowing the sale of real estate out of the probate estate, the personal representative of the estate (sometimes called an executor, administrator, administratrix, or estate representative) will be given the authority to execute a deed on behalf of the decedent and/or the decedent’s estate to the new owner.

What happens if a probate is never started?

This happens frequently in Oklahoma; a property owner dies, no probate is started, and the record title ownership remains in the deceased owner’s name indefinitely. Whenever someone eventually tries to buy or sell the property, the “seller” does not actually own title to the property and must complete a quiet title action before the sale can be closed – this causes delays in closing and often results in terminated contracts.

This is especially true where the deceased owner did not have a will (died intestate), so the property becomes owned by multiple co-owners, each with a portion of ownership based on their relationship to the deceased owner. The longer the family waits to complete a probate or quiet title action, the more complicated (and time-consuming and expensive) the process becomes to correct the title issues. 

Can probate be avoided?

Yes! Our firm prepares effective estate plans to help you or your family members avoid the time, expense, and complications of probate. If you want to avoid the need for a real estate sale out of probate, we can help. 

Other related helpful information: 

Contact Avenue Legal Group to discuss the possible need for a probate or quiet title action, for help with a sale out of probate, or to avoid probate through effective estate planning.



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