Troubleshooting Legal Problems

How a specialized real estate agent can help estate executors

If you’re the executor of an estate that includes a residential property that has to go through probate, you have a considerable responsibility – and a lot of work – ahead of you. Not only do you have to worry about selling the property or distributing it to one or more beneficiaries (depending on what the deceased person designated in their will), but you have to deal with all of the legal requirements that come with the probate process.

Fortunately, there are real estate professionals specially trained to handle these properties. They’re called certified probate real estate specialists (CPRES). To earn this certification, they have to complete a special program to learn about the probate process and how to help people deal with real estate assets that have to go through probate in Pennsylvania.

What can a CPRES do for you?

Even if the deceased person took the necessary steps to avoid having their home go through probate (such as putting it in a living trust or having another person on the title), a CPRES can still help you – particularly if you are selling the property. They can recommend an appraiser, inspector, repair and renovation professionals, an estate sale company and others who can help as you get the property ready for sale. They can also help you take the steps necessary to secure the property and protect it from theft or vandalism if it’s remaining empty.

If the property has been left to one or more family members or other beneficiaries, a CPRES can also help deal with the change in title and other necessary steps to transfer ownership and deal with the tax implications. If the beneficiary doesn’t want the property, they can help them determine how best to handle it.

A CPRES isn’t a substitute for having legal guidance as you administer an estate. However, they can help the probate and estate administration process go more smoothly and help you avoid serious and costly mistakes.