I’ve been tasked as a Personal Representative, now what?

When a loved one passes away and a family member is tasked as the Personal Representative, many questions come to mind. Am I required to file Probate when a family member passes away in San Diego County? What exactly is the Probate process? What if there is property in the estate, does it have to be sold? What if the property needs significant repairs, what options do we have? These are the kinds of questions we hear every day. How do we answer them? The same way we always do…”If you could hand over at least one task that is causing you stress, what would it be – What can I take off of your plate?”.

We have helped many family members/Personal Representatives through the Probate process. Let us show you how we can help. Our team of professionals includes:

  • Estate Sale companies
  • Clean-out crews
  • Contractors (from just passing inspection to full renovations)
  • Title companies
  • Real Estate agents
  • Cash-buying investors

What is Probate and what does the process look like?

When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate and schedule of the probate court.

Every probate estate is unique, but most involve the following steps:

(This is a VERY simplified list of the general steps required as part of the Probate process.)

  • File any Will and petition the court for Appointment of Personal Representative (“the PR”).
  • Send Notice of Appointment of PR to beneficiaries, heirs, and other interested parties.
  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.
  • Collect and manage (and possibly sell) the property.
  • Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
  • Sale of estate assets.
  • Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs.

How much does Probate cost and how long will the process take?

The cost and duration of probate can vary substantially depending on a number of factors such as the existence of a Will, the location of real property owned by the estate, and the value of the estate. Common expenses of an estate include executors fees, attorneys fees, accounting and court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds. The short answer is you can expect the Probate process to last 6 months if everything goes according to plan. Most estates are settled through probate in about 9 to 18 months, assuming no litigation is involved.

Here are some issues that can arise:

  • Problems in locating the heirs and beneficiaries.  ALL beneficiaries must be named and included in the process.  Until they are found, the process cannot move forward.
  • A contest of the will (disputing the validity of the document) by the heirs or beneficiaries.
  • Claims or liens against the estate that remain unsettled. All liens against any real property must be paid first.
  • Real estate or other property that cannot be sold for some reason. Any title issues or liens can prevent a property from being sold.
  • Failure to properly notify one or more creditors during the claim period.
  • Dissatisfaction regarding the actions of the personal representative by the heirs or beneficiaries.

The cost of going through Probate court in San Diego County is typically 3-7% of the total value of the Estate.  If any problems arise which drag out the procedures, those costs can quickly increase.

From “Clean-Up to Close” here’s how we can help:

(Below is a generalized plan of action for an estate where the property is to be sold, your individual plan of action will be determined based on the needs of the parties involved.)

Step 1: We meet with the Executor and all beneficiaries and listen to your needs, answer any questions you have and if needed, provide a complimentary home evaluation. We will then strategize a plan of action that best fits your needs.

Step 2: Once a strategy has been determined we will schedule the appropriate professionals from our team to go through the home with the Executor and determine what items the family and beneficiaries would like to keep.

Step 3: After determining which items the Executor will be keeping our Estate Sale Specialist will then work with you on what you would like to sell versus donate, including a free estate appraisal and then schedule the Estate Sale/Garage Sale if desired.

Step 4: Now that all the personal items have been organized, we will work with any trade services to make any necessary repairs on the property to get the home in “showing” condition. We aim to get top dollar or work with our investors to present you with a cash offer for the property “As-Is”.

Step 5: We will then market and sell the home for top dollar and ensure an easy and effortless sale for the estate. We will coordinate with the movers, packers, and other services the Executor may need.  We understand that there is a lot that goes into settling an estate and our goal is to make the process effortless. We will be the Executors main point of contact through the entire transaction, from Clean-Up to Close.

Give me a call right now so I can help navigate this process with you.