Probating rights - NW OK

Mom had rights in Dewey & Major counties OK from producing wells. She passed in 2013. I’m getting emails from a very pushy headhunter agency trying to get me to agree to probate it on contingency with them. State has unclaimed funds for her. Don’t have funds to hire a lawyer myself which is why never probated as I was told do NOT use the county appointed. WWYD? Anyone know of any lawyers in that area that’ll work on contingency?

Oklahoma does allow for attorneys to work on a contingency basis in probate cases. The key is to have agreement from all of the family members to the arrangement. Also, there must be a fairly clear idea of the amount of funds being held by the unclaimed property division of the treasurer’s office. Often this is the trickiest part. You do not have to hire an attorney from the county where the property is located and the court will not appoint one for you.

If the person is being pushy, I would be very careful working with that company. There are companies that prey on individuals that have a large sum of money in unclaimed property and then take an exorbitant amount as a contingency. They try to sell people on helping them get funds out of unclaimed property, but they are not doing anything any other person could do. They do not provide a unique service and many attorneys could do that for you at a much lower cost.

Following up on what Richard said, if there are funds in unclaimed property, an attorney can make an agreement to be paid out of the funds held by the state. I strongly suspect that if you look up your mother’s and/or grandmother’s name on MOEA, you can see, at a minimum, what is being held by the State. MOEA Search (

He’s asking 12% or a flat fee of $4000 to $5600 plus an heir finder fee of $1172. Is that reasonable? The estate is about $47k before splitting between myself and another heir

The cost of a probate can differ for many reasons, but an average cost of an uncontested probate is usually anywhere between $3,000-$5,000 plus an average additional $500 for costs (court fees, publication fees, postage).

Check with Unclaimed Property to be sure you actually need a probate or if a Judicial Determination of Death will do. If your mom left a Will, that may be enough. If you do have to probate, I recommend you do it in Dewey or Major County since it will be much faster than going through one of the larger counties. There are decent attorneys in both counties. You’ll be paying for travel time and expenses if you hire an attorney from outside the county.

This is not the case if a flat fee is agreed to.
As far as in which county to file, if the person resided in Oklahoma at the time of death, then the probate is to be filed in the county where she died. If she lived, outside of Oklahoma, then a county where property is located.

This post is not legal or tax advice. It does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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