Probate FAQ’s

What is a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES)?

A Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) is a real estate professional who has undergone specialized training and certification in dealing with probate real estate transactions. They have expertise in handling properties that are part of an individual’s estate after they pass away. These specialists can assist both executors of estates and beneficiaries in selling or managing real estate assets during and after the probate process, providing valuable guidance and support throughout the transaction.

What Happens When My Family Member Dies and Owns Real Estate?

Someone passes away: Probate can begin when an individual passes away, and their estate (assets and belongings) needs to be legally managed and distributed.

  1. If there’s a will: If the deceased person left a will, it is indeed a legal document that outlines their wishes for the distribution of their assets. However, a will is not automatically effective upon death. It must be submitted to the court and filed with the courthouse to initiate the probate process. When there’s a will, the deceased is said to have died “testate.”
    • In the will, the person often designates an executor (sometimes called a personal representative) to carry out their wishes as specified in the will. This executor will typically oversee the probate process.
  2. If there’s no will: In cases where there’s no will, the individual is said to have died “intestate.” When someone dies intestate, it means they didn’t leave specific instructions on how their assets should be distributed.
    • In such cases, someone (often a family member) will need to step forward and initiate the probate process. The court will then appoint an administrator to handle the estate. This administrator is typically a family member or another interested party.

What Do I Do If I’m Appointed as a Personal Representative and I Want to Sell the Home?

  1. File a Summons and Petition to Sell the Real Estate (FORMS)
  2. Pay $150.00 filing fee
  3. File a Lis Pendens with the  Clerk’s Office
  4. File a market analysis or appraisal
  5. Serve all interested parties/creditors/mortgage company OR have them accept service and hopefully agree and waive the need for a hearing.
  6. If all parties don’t agree – a hearing will be required

What Constitutes a Valid Will?

  • Must be in writing
  • Clearly state your desires for the transfer of your property
  • Signed and Dated
  • Witnessed by 2 people who are not beneficiaries under your Will or the spouse or parent of a beneficiary.
  • Name a Personal Representative and a Successor Personal Representative
  • Give the Personal Representative authority to sell your real and personal property

Which County Do I Initiate the Probate Process?

  • In the county where they last resided (at the time of death), but additional filings will need to be made in any county that the decedent owned property.

What is Needed to Open an Estate?

  • Original Will
  • Application for Probate and Appointment
  • Death Certificate
  • Necessary Fees

What’s The Difference in Selling a Traditional Home vs. a Home in Probate?

  1. Ownership and Decision-Making Authority
  2. Property Condition and Maintenance
  3. Title and Ownership Verification
  4. Disclosure and Property History
  5. Market Timing and Flexibility

Have Other Questions?