7 Tips On Real Estate and Probate

real estate and probate

Real Estate and Probate

One of the hardest times in anyone’s life is the death of a family member.

Personally, I have seen what it does to a family. The good and the bad. I have had to go through many hardships within my own family as a Real Estate agent. You learn lessons and grow stronger as a person. You learn how crazy it i to maneuver through the Court system to get simple things done.

It amazes me when working with families that need to sell a parent’s home, or a sibling’s home, how so many are unprepared for this inevitable event. Real Estate and probate create a series of legal actions that must be taken to probate a will. If a will is not present, then the Probate Court follows rules set up within the State the deceased lived in to complete the probate action.

NOTE: I am NOT an Attorney, Judge, or a legal counsel. This blog post is my personal experience(s) in dealing with probate. Also, I have experience as a licensed Real Estate Agent in Texas, helping individuals sell the property that they need to dispose of to settle the wishes of their loved ones.

Probate is a legal document. Receipt of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will.

A probate court (surrogate court) decides the legal validity of a testator‘s (person’s) will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executor.

The probated will then become a legal instrument that may be enforced by the executor in the law courts if necessary. A probate also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator’s assets in the manner specified in the testator’s will. However, through the probate process, a will may be contested.[1

The above excerpt from Wikipedia is to highlight the general process of probate. The process of probate and real estate goes back to England and Wales.

The English noun “probate” derives directly from the Latin verb probare,[2] to try, test, prove, examine,[3] more specifically from the verb’s past participle nominative neuter probatum,[4] “having been proved”.

The earliest usage of the English word was in 1463, defined as “the official proving of a will”.[6] The term “probative,” used in the law of evidence, comes from the same Latin root but has a different English usage.

It is important to understand that the process of Real Estate and Probate is inevitable. The Government wants to collect more taxes upon death, and the Legal System wants to make sure that all parties are given their just “day in court”.

This goes for the people that are owed monies as well as the benefactors of the will. So here are my 7 Tips On Real Estate and Probate.

  • Have A Will Or Trust Set Up

    The amount of people that I talk to that want to sell a home or business after a family death keeps growing every year. The Number 1 thing I see over and over again is lack of a will. Items that are titled, like a car, property, boats, motorcycles – need proper documents presented to the Probate Court for proper distribution to the heirs. You can create a simple will online now a days. Contact an Attorney and get one created!

  • Make sure that you name as your Executor, a person you absolutely trust, and knows your life feelings about family members and business decisions. This needs to be someone who can make a decision, is level headed, and also take a lot of verbal abuse from angry family members or creditors. (This person will be making very important decisions in the discharge of the deceased’s assets.)

  • Make sure that you keep the important papers, lists, titles, and will in a safe place. Make sure that the person you named as your Executor knows where the safe place is and has gone over the contents with you. Make sure that person is familiar with all the paperwork and what they connect with in the form of assets.

  • Assets that can avoid the probate process in Texas. Community property with right of survivorship. Life Insurance proceeds. Survivor’s benefits from an annuity. Payable on death bank accounts. (Many other States may have similar laws). Why are these items important?¬† When there is a death in the family, all assets are frozen until Probate is opened in the local county court. This may take time and if there is businesses involved, the cash is frozen until an Executor is named. Consult an Attorney to talk through your options.

  • A Living Trust may be an option for an Estate that is large and includes many businesses or rental assets. This instrument may bypass the probate process if set up correctly. Check with your Attorney. In a nutshell, it is is a lot like a will that governs the assets placed inside of it, with details on management and disbursement of profits. Check with a CPA also on federal tax benefits.

  • Your health care directives — including your living will and power of attorney for health care — might be the most important estate planning documents you ever make. Giving your family clear, written direction about your end-of-life wishes can spare them anguish — and make sure you get the kind of care you want. With these documents, you can set out the kinds of treatment you ¬†want, or don’t want, and name someone to make sure your wishes are honored.

    Without guidance from you in these legal documents, family members and health care providers can easily become uncertain about treatment decisions. And when family members disagree about what course to follow, the consequences are sometimes rifts that are never resolved.

  • Finalizing and paying the Federal Taxes on the estate. The Executor of the estate needs to have a good accounting of the assets, bank accounts, real estate disbursement and sale prices, list of personal items either sold or distributed to family members.

    A good CPA will need to have the “basis of cost” of most of the items. This usually is obtained by the history of the deceased and the CPA records. Be aware that if your loved one does not have a steady accountant, the Executor of the Estate, will need to have a list of these costs for the CPA that does the final filing. The last thing your family needs is to pay too much taxes on an estate that has paid taxes through a lifetime. (I think this is the most evil tax the Government places on us as families)

Those are just a few of the important points when thinking about preparing a will that includes Real Estate. Real Estate and probate go hand in hand upon the passing of a loved one. There can be NO transfer of title until a Judge makes a decision, with or without an Executor named.

The time is now to form a team of professionals that you can rely on. I can work with your Probate Attorney, or I can give you a list of the top notch ones I have worked with in McAllen.

Going through probate can take a few months, or a few years, depending on the will and if there are any person(s) contesting the will. You want an Agent who has the experience and understands the complexities of Real Estate and Probate.

I am a GEEK that is cleverly disguised as a Real Estate Agent. I do not SELL Real Estate. I MARKET Real Estate Online and Offline. Use my 23+ years of Valuation Services to suggest the correct price for you as a Seller. As a Buyer, my experience in pricing Real Estate is your ticket to saving money when purchasing. Investors love me because of the years working with REO and Foreclosed properties. Contact Me – Let me help you today!