Probate is the process of establishing that a deceased person’s will is valid and legal and physically transferring assets to heirs. That sounds simple, but in California it’s a court proceeding that will take 6 to 14 months and roughly 4%-8% of the estate, mainly in attorney’s fees, court costs and appraiser’s fees. That equates to $40,000 -$80,000 on a million-dollar estate. Probate is also public. Everyone can learn what the decedent owned and owed. There are estimated to be more than one million new probate cases in the U.S. each year. Probably not what your family members goal was!

In general, there are four main steps to the probate process (though exact proceedings can vary depending on your state). Read through the following list for a better understanding of probate real estate:

EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE: For the probate process to begin, an Executor of the estate must be appointed. Typically, the Executor is named in a decedent’s will, but if not, the court will appoint an Administrator to fulfill the role. The will includes whether an heir will inherit the property or if it will be sold.

PROPERTY APPRAISAL: If the property will be sold, the Executor will then determine a listing price for the property in question. The list price will be determined after an appraisal with the help of a real estate agent experienced in probate sales.

PROPERTY LISTING: After the listing price is established, the property will then be put on the market. The real estate agent working with the property will market it like any other home, using signage, websites, and more to attract a high offer.

LIMITED vs. FULL AUTHORITY PROPERTY SALES:When the probate is filed by the probate attorney with the courts the probate court will determine if the Executor or the Administrator is to have Limited or Full Authority in managing the estate, which includes selling the property. With Full Authority the property can be sold without court approval. With Limited Authority all property sales must go to court for over bids at a court auction and final court approval.

The probate “process can take anywhere from a few months to a year, as there are many different assets and property laws to consider.” On average, however, the process can take from 6 months to 14 months depending on the type of probate and the number of assets in the estate.
The typical probate process can be affected by the number of heirs, any issues with the execution of the will, and any taxes or debts attached to the property. Additionally, the state and local laws where the property is located could impact the overall timeline. Probate can extend for so long because the various legal proceedings associated with the process take time.

A living trust provides the means to avoid probate. This is a written document (signed and notarized) that determines who will receive the property when a homeowner passes. First you create a living trust, then transfer title of all your assets to the trust. Upon your death or your spouse’s, probate is avoided for the simple reason that trust assets are not considered part of the estate. Whatever the probate court would have done to transfer your assets has already been done. The language of the trust governs how the assets are to be disposed of, without delay of probate court.
Although you do not need an attorney to create a trust, experienced legal advice can be invaluable as you navigate the complex process. When done correctly, living trust can help homeowners, or more specifically their trustees, avoid probate court after death.

You have worked your whole life to provide for your loved ones, and now it is time to make sure they will be in good hands. Experience matters and you want more than a real estate agent advising your loved ones – you want a Real Estate Broker that is a certified trust and probate specialist that demonstrates a high level of expertise and years of experience in probate and trust sales.We offer over 33 years of real estate sales experience and hundreds of satisfied clients. Call us today with your questions – our consultations are free.