Probate and Trusts, Real Estate, Sellers

What You Should Know If You Are A Successor Trustee Selling A Home

Losing a loved one is hard as it is. Having to handle their affairs can make it even more difficult to grieve. One of the major assets a personal representative may need to handle is real estate; particularly the primary home. Assuming you have already reviewed the living trust and know you will need to sell the property in order to settle the estate; here are five things you should do:

  • Check the title of the property – You want to make sure the property is still in the trust.  At times, if there was a transaction having to do with title (such as a refinance), the property might not be put back into the trust. It is important to do this as you will need to file paperwork to get the property back into the trust prior to selling.
  • Contact the mortgage company – Inform them the owner has passed away and you are the designated personal representative of the estate. Find out if the account is in good standing, how to go about making the mortgage payments and eventually what is the payoff amount. In addition to the mortgage company, you will also need to contact the utility companies.
  • Sort through the personal property – This might be a difficult task since you are still grieving but you can seek help from friends and family or hire a company who can help with this. You can also have an estate sale or donate to charity.
  • Have the house professionally cleaned – Hire someone to do a deep cleaning of the property as well as someone who will help throw away furniture or any other items you will not keep.
  • Hire a real estate agent who is a probate and trust specialist – It is important that you work with a professional who is experienced in the process and can guide you through it.  A specialized real estate agent can be a great source to find estate lawyers, accountants, contractors, handymen, auctioneers, professional cleaners, etc. who you might need to hire in the process.

Featured Photo by Ridham Parikh

Content Photo by Melinda Gimpel 

Real Estate

10 Tips for Personal Representatives of a Living Trust

Your family or friend has chosen you to handle his or her living trust after passing away.  If your loved one chose you, it was more likely because he or she trusted you and believed you had the ability to handle the living trust responsibly.  Managing a living trust could be as easy selling one or two assets to settle the estate.  Or, it can get complicated if the beneficiaries contest or there are certain assets not included in the trust.  Here are 10 tips that could help you during the process.

  • Read the Living Trust and gather all financial information as well as any debt information
  • Request multiple certified copies of the death certificate (you will need originals to liquidate assets)
  • Be informed on the steps and how long it will take to settle the estate 
  • Keep accurate accounting in case the beneficiaries request it
  • Select service providers who are experienced and knowledgeable in probate 
  • Take inventory of all personal possessions and real property
  • Ensure that any real estate is properly insured and bills are paid
  • Obtain date of death values for real estate, valuable personal items, and business interests
  • Seek expert advise to understand the market when selling real property
  •  File tax return and pay taxes if applicable

It is already difficult enough to grieve for your loved one, and now having to deal with the responsibility of settling his or her estate can be stressful.  For this reason, it is important that you work with estate planning attorneys, real estate agents, estate auctioneers, etc. who are experienced in trusts and probate so they can help ease the burden.  If you or anyone you know is going through this situation, feel free to contact me so I can help guide you through the steps and provide you with contact information on other servicers and professionals who can help you.