Although we never like to think about it, we all have an expiration date. We don’t know when that might be and being prepared is always a good idea. What happens to everything I have? Who is in charge? Do I have a say? I’m freaking out now! Relax…. keep reading…
Let’s begin with:
What is Probate?
Probate is a complicated, and usually lengthy, court process where assets are sold or distributed and any outstanding debts against the estate are settled. The best advice is to take some time now and make provisions on how you wish your estate to be handled. There are options to consider including a Will, a Trust, or even naming beneficiaries for investments or life insurance policies. Regardless, it does take some planning on your part.
Here are some other items to consider:
So, what will happen to my house?
Well, it depends on several things including if you are married or single. Generally, a surviving spouse will be entitled to a house unless previous planning or arrangements are made. There are several points to remember such as if there is a mortgage on the property it will need to be satisfied either being paid off or refinanced. There are several other financing options to consider as well.
What if I do not have a surviving spouse?
Well, in your estate planning, you could still have left it to someone or maybe it needs to be sold to settle the estate obligations, be accounted for, and the proceeds distributed according to your will. If the house needs to be sold, then there are some steps to take and some preparation before that can happen.
Who takes charge and gets the house sold?
Well, if you created a will, you have already designated the person, called the executor, who is responsible for overseeing your estate in conjunction with an attorney to liquidate and distribute to family, friends, persons, or charities. The executor is ultimately responsible for getting the house sold and he or she will engage a realtor to get the home ready for the market and get it sold.
Who will take care of my house until it sells?
The executor will still be responsible for the care of your home until it is sold. When he/she is ready to address the house, this is where I come in. It is great to plan and make decisions on what happens with your estate. Many people are busy with work, family, and other commitments and can’t take on the enormous responsibility of maintaining another house, cleaning out the belongings, getting the house ready to sell, and then selling the house. I am a realtor who also is a CPRES (Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist) and I work closely with the Executor of the Estate, your attorney, and accountant to make sure your decisions about your estate are carried out.
How can I help?
So, you may be thinking I am just a realtor. Yes and No. Almost any realtor can list and sell a house, but a CPRES realtor goes way above and beyond. For example, I have helped several clients with estate sales to clean out the house of belongings that the family does not wish to keep. Also, I have coordinated handymen for repairs, pre-inspections to find any issues that may impact a deal, house cleaners, painters, flooring contractors, staging companies, landscapers and yard people all to take the pressure off the Executor. There are lots of items to take care of before the house can be listed for sale and I have the contacts and experience to make that happen.
I make sure to work closely with the Executor and often the attorney and accountant. For the estate, there needs to be an evaluation completed of the market value at the time of passing to establish a basis for the estate. I generally complete these for all my Probate listings, and this is the establishment of the realtor accountant relationship.
Probate Real Estate is a specialized niche and I work hard for my clients. I have the tools to work with the executor, attorney, and accountant and have all the connections for preparing the house for sale and getting it sold in the shortest time for the highest amount. Some families do not live locally so I am able to handle many of the details regarding the home that they would normally deal with. I can take a lot of work off the executor and family during a challenging time.
I truly enjoy helping families through this transition and have always had a great rapport with the attorneys, accountants, and executors. If you have any questions about the Probate process, I would love the opportunity to visit with you and provide information to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.