In layman’s terms, probate means to prove and validate the will of a deceased person. It is a legal process which settles a person’s “estate” when he/she dies. The estate covers up all the properties and personal belongings of the person. The probate procedure is the best one when it comes to handling the matters of a deceased person diligently.
Typically in a will, the deceased identifies a representative/executor which would handle all the affairs of his estate after his death. The executor also clears out debts of the deceased person from his/her estate.
Although probate is a legal system which was created to ensure that the deceased person’s estate is handled well, some people still perceive it to be a negative system.
The reasons for it may be because probate courts can proceed slowly and be time-consuming. There are fees and paperwork involved, and the process doesn’t ensure privacy as the records become public information.
For your ease, I have listed down the most common problems related to property which occur doing probate, so that you can avoid them and act efficiently.
Taking care of the property
If you are an executor/representative or a real estate agent linked with the representative, the first thing to do is to change the locks and seal the property.
In many cases this simple act should be a deterrent to the relatives or the beneficiaries entering the property and removing items of value. This will be effectively prevented by securing the property by all means.
Sell the property as soon as possible
As soon as you apply for probate as an executive, the first thing should be to sell the property as soon as possible. According to Sell House Quickly, there are a lot of hurdles in the property chain, including real estate agents more concerned with the list price, rather than the final price provided to the customer. You need to keep this in mind that a vacant property soon becomes a liability rather than an asset.
For instance, if a property remains empty for longer than 30 days, you may need to take out vacant property insurance, too. Also, by liquidating the property, it will be easier and convenient to settle the debts (if any).
Do your homework as a buyer
If you are a buyer and want to buy such a property, you should do extensive homework and research on the property. This is because in most cases the executor doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the property.
Also, he might not be able to provide you with all the documents either. So, you need to be aware of these problems and do your research on the property extensively. It is best to do a building survey as any unearthed problem will have to be attended by the buyer and not the seller.
Complexity increases time
According to the complex nature of the estate, in some cases it may take a lot of time in settling the estate. This normally happens when the debt on the deceased person is more than the value of the estate, or when the property is accounted for tax.
When the matters are more complex, it takes months to years to solve. Not to mention, during all this time the property and belongings may be losing value as well.
The person named as an executor not accepting his/her role
In most cases the executor knows that a person has named him/her as an executor in the will, and he/she is willing to handle the estate matters without any resistance. However, in some cases the executor doesn’t want to perform the duty.
He/she may find the matters too complex and doesn’t want to get involved in it. To prevent this from happening, the person should give 3-4 names as potential executors while making a will. Also, the executor can name someone else as an executor to act on his behalf.