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Dealing With Real Estate When A Loved One Passes Away



You're are not alone.

Many homeowners have been in similar situations

where privacy is preferred.  

After they spoke with us, they felt more at ease about the process.


Let's take a closer look about Real Estate when a loved one passes away.   



Gather Information, Then

Make Informed Decisions.


 * Prepare if at all possible

 * Seek professional help 

 * Should I sell or not 

 * Understanding the process

 * Probate vs Trust sales







You can save yourself and heirs tens of thousands of dollars and months of costsly delays by doing some preparation before someone passes away.  This should be done even if there is no expectation of death, and should be in place already.


This means understanding the state and federal laws of handling Real Estate upon death of the owner.  This includes knowing the difference between Trusts and Probate ( with or without a will).


You can google it, or talk to friends and family, but you should seek professional help. They know things you will miss on google and certainly more than friends and family.  There are significant financial differences and tax consequences of not being prepared before a death occurs. 


Some people may wait until they get older to put their affairs in order, but that won't help in a tragic unforseen death situation.  If the government court system gets invloved, it could drain the estate finances dry before you get through the process. 


Here are some quick items to check on and put in place before a loved one passes away.


* Is there a trust?  There are 4 different kinds

* Is there a will?  Is that will put in a trust? 

* Where are financial documents kept

* Who is on title to the real estate

* Who are the heirs? Is there a concensus?





This should be done in the preparation stages, if not, then right away upon death. 


Emotions are front and center at this time and other arrangements are also on the list of things to do. It's important to put this at the top of the list. If you can't do it, have another family menmber or trusted person get things started for you.


Here's what you'll need to know from a professional.


* What are my options

* What is the legal process

* What are the tax implications

* Who is the decision maker

* What is the cost of dealing with the estate

* Who are my advisors


Contact your Real Estate advisor first. 


They are usually more available than an attorney or tax advisor, and don't charge a consultation fee to meet or speak with you about your situation. 


They should be a qualified agent with specialized training in Probate And Trust sales.


If you do need legal or tax advice based on your current situation, they can recommend them.  





Whether you decide to sell or not depends on a few factors.


*  Do any of the heirs want to buy other heirs out

*  Are they qualified to buy everyone out

*  Will this be your primary residence

*  Is there a concensus among the heirs

*  What's in the will or trust 


There may some flexibility among the survivors on what to do, or there could be no wiggle room if the will or trust has specific instructions. 


This is where your team of advisors come in, They will let you know the legal rights or obligations you have, along with any tax implications and Real Estate strategies to be used.


Now you are making informed decisions and will get the best possible results.   








 What's Going To Happen Next? 

 Will There Be A Probate Or Not? 


You need to determine up front if there is going to be a probate or not.  If there is a trust and all the estate assets are in the trust, then most likely you will avoid probate. 


* Probate is expensive and time consuming

* There are 9 exclusions to probate

*‚Äč  Probate in California takes about 1 year

* Full Authority is the primary goal  



Selling Your Home In A Trust


* By far the best way to sell

* The least expensive way to sell 

*  Affordable to put in place

* Transfer On Death Deed options


The cost of a getting a trust in place prior to death is about 1,800  to 3,000 dollars for a professionaly prepared trust.  This  far less than the cost of probate costs including: attorneys, special representatives, court fees and special referee fees.  


In the sale of a 800,000 dollar home the cost for a probate attorney would be about 40,000 dollars.  This does not include the court costs, special referee cost , or holding costs of the home while the probate process drags on and the traditional selling costs of a home.  










Lets Take A Closer Look


If it's been determined that a probate is required, it's important to understand the steps a little more in detail.  There are a few key points of progress in timeline that affect your ability to sell a home or not sell. Here are a few points to pay attention to.


* Petition For Probate

* Special Representative

* Hearing Date

* Orders

* Letters

* Full or limited Authority

* Notice Of Proposed Action

* Debtors

* Taxes

* Court Confirmation

* Final Distribution

* Final Court Hearing

* Final Closing



All of these stages will occur in the probate process with one exception if full authority is granted in the orders. That is the court confirmation steps. If full authority is granted this stage is waived. If limited auhtority is granted, it will happen. 


This step really sets back the home selling process and makes it more expensive. More court costs and a longer holding time of mortgage, tax, utilities and upkeep are needed.


Even without the court confirmation steps, it still takes some time for the sale to start and finish, as notices of proposed action need to be sent out to hiers and agreed to. In addition you will have to wait for the first court date and orders & letters giving you authorization to sell.


If there are tenants in the home, you want to make sure you follow the Landlord Tenant laws.  If not, this could cost you financialy as well as delay the sale with the eviction process. This could run concurrent with the probate process.  


The Trust Process

If there is a trust involved, things just got a lot easier. Contacting an agent with trust certifications is recommended. 


There are a few items that need to be discussed with all the successor trustee. This person is identified in the trust. If that person is not available or does not want to take on that role, paperwork needs to be filed to replace them before you can move forward.


  A copy of the trust will be needed for the Escrow and Title process. If you have a copy of those along with other financial documents, it will make the process smoother.  


The successor trustee is also responsible to contact creditors, utility companies, insurance companies, financial institutions, tenants, and more when a loved one passes away. 


A copy of the death certificate along with the trust will be needed to handle or close out accounts during the liquidation of the etstate holdings in addition to Real Estate.


This is where the agent you hire to help you matters.  Because we have extensive history and Probate and Trust certifications, we can make the process much easier for you and help you avoid costly mistakes. 















Call our private line now at

951-833-8925 and we'll be glad to chat with you. 


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