Here is what the lawyer won’t be doing and is not their job along with what is their job, in regards to a probate sale. First what they won’t be doing. ( I am not an attorney, I am a Certified Probate Expert Realtor, do not consider this as legal advice, please consult an attorney for legal advice)

What the lawyer won’t be doing while completing a probate sale

  1. If there is a home or real estate, they won’t be determining the value of the property or properties
  2. The lawyer won’t be going through and sorting through all of the memories and belongings to determine how the belongings will be split up.
  3. The lawyer won’t be going what’s left over to determine if goes to estate sale, garage sale, donation or just gets hauled away.
  4. The lawyer won’t be preparing the property or properties for sale, staging them, etc.
  5. The lawyer won’t be going through and making any financial plans on what to do with the inheritance. ( a financial coach does that, they sale any of the products so their advice can be trusted, there is no conflict of interest)
  6. The lawyer won’t be selling the home. ( it is true that the assets can not be disbursed until the probate is complete, however often times the property can be sold prior to the completion of the probate process)

What the lawyer does do to complete a probate sale

When a person dies, their last will and testament (assuming they prepared on in advance) is handled and their wishes for the distribution of their personal property implemented through a process called probate. Probate simply means the procedure by which their last written directives are legally certified as the final statement of their wishes in regard to their worldly possessions (including any property or properties they may have owned). It also confirms the appointment of a person or entity the deceased person selected to administer their estate. The term probate is also frequently used to refer to the entire process of “probating” an estate. In this usage, it refers to the entire process that gathers all of the available assets, pays any outstanding debts, taxes, administrative expenses and then finally makes the specified distribution of remaining assets to those persons or entities designated by the will. The personal representative (also know as the executor or executrix) who is named in the will is legally in charge of this process and is responsible for handling the orderly method for administration of the estate as set forth by the probate laws and procedures of their state. The executor is typically held accountable for their actions and decisions by the heirs and other beneficiaries and in some cases may be formally supervised by a probate court. If a will does not exist or a personal representative is not designated in the will, the court will appoint one (assuming there is personal property to distribute). The personal representative is often entitled by law to a reasonable fee or commission for their services. Probate law generally encourages or provides for partial distributions of funds during the period of administration and assets are often distributed “in kind” rather than sold during this period. Tax laws generally look to the personal representative as being responsible for making death tax filings and other tax payments from the outstanding assets of the deceased. Therefore, choosing an executor / executrix / personal representative is an important decision. The basic job of administration and accounting for assets must be done whether the estate is handled by a personal representative as part of the probate process or if probate is avoided. In the recent past, lawyers and other professionals have advocated the use of probate avoidance techniques (such as revocable trusts, etc.) in states where the probate process has been seen to be too slow and overly expensive. In recent years, many states have simplified or streamlined their probate processes and in such states, there is now less reason to employ probate avoidance techniques.

Tomas Fonseca author, Certified Probate Agent, Dave Ramsey Trained Financial Coach, Featured in the Wall Street Journal, Best Selling Author, Realtor of 31 years.