Coping with the loss of a loved one is always difficult. If you’re also serving as a personal representative or executor/executrix of their estate, it’s even more challenging and emotionally draining. Often, you must make many decisions in areas where you have little or no previous experience. Sometimes, other family members can also make the probate process difficult.
Selling the Home
In my experience, many executors/executrix/estate representatives find that the most challenging aspect of estate settlement is the real estate transaction. Selling your loved one’s home and sorting through personal belongings is tough. By surrounding yourself with professionals who are empathetic and supportive, this process can be easier. In addition to an attorney, your greatest resource is a real estate professional who understands the intricacies of probate property sales. A qualified real estate agent can also help you with some of the difficult conversations you may need to have with family members and other heirs.
Unfortunately, many estate properties were not well-maintained, either because the late homeowner was ill or simply could not manage it. You can ease the anxiety of repairing and/or maintaining the probate property by relying on the expertise of dependable service providers (such as electricians, building contractors, landscapers, etc.) to bring the home up to marketable condition.
Disposing of Possessions
What to do with all the “stuff” inside the home? We all accumulate things that reflect the big moments in our lives. Disposing of these possessions in a dignified, yet efficient manner, is often an obstacle in bringing the estate to a final settlement. Again, your real estate professional should be able to provide you with some different options to pursue. Depending on any stipulations in a will, you can:
- Invite family members to “help themselves” to memorabilia and possessions in an organized fashion.
- Have an estate sale.
- Ask a reliable appraiser or other professional to help sell certain items for the best prices possible.
- Donate some items to charity. This can also be a tax benefit to the estate.
Finding the Right Probate Pros
A competent probate attorney and a real estate agent who’s experienced in selling estate properties make all the difference in how smoothly and quickly the estate is settled. Make sure you ask these trustworthy professionals for recommendations in securing the additional help you may need. The attorney and/or real estate agent should have a list of reliable businesses that they’ve already vetted.
Visit pennprobate.com for more information on how my team and I simplify the process for you.
NOTE: Please consult with an attorney or CPA for legal or tax advice. If you need help finding providers for these or any other related services, I can help with recommendations and references.