Probate Tracking Sheet...Where we find and keep all our Probate Real Estate pertinent information.. (Continued)...
WILL OR NO WILL
As a Probate Agent we will need to know whether the estate has a will. The will gives the executor power to sell property, so we can find the info two ways in the file. First, on the back of the "Petition to Probate", you will see a statement with boxes asking if the estate had a will or no will. If there is a will, note it on your tracking sheet under Will Information. You will concentrate your "LEVEL 1" searches on property where the deceased has left a will and where the executor is acting under the "Independent Administration of Estates Act"(IAEA). If there is no will, we will still send a letter for our client as we can request the estate to sell to us under the IAEA even though no will. You only can't use the IAEA if there is a will and it states the house must be court confirmed. This is key information in Probate Real Estate.
The address of the petitioner (executor) may or may not be listed on the back of the "Petition for Probate". If it is not, you can usually find a separate form in the file which lists the executor and all the heirs to the estate, including their addresses and relationships to the deceased. Just flip through the file until you find the form. Concern yourself for now with the petitioner's address only, and note it on your tracking sheet under Executor Name & Address.
Now, you will also have the names of all the heirs listed on this form, but we are only concerned with those who have been named in the will as having an interest in the real estate. For those who do, list their names, addresses, and relationships to the deceased on the tracking sheet under Heirs with Interest in Property.
PHONE NUMBER OF EXECUTOR
If you look in the file for the form which is called, "Duties and Liabilities" of the Personal Representative where on page 2 the signature is required and usually with have the PR Phone number.
This is very important for you as I will explain later...
To summarize the information learned from the "Petition to Probate", your tracking sheet should now contain the following information:
•1. The Executor's (Petitioner's) name and address
•2. Executor's authority (full or limited)
•3. Value of the real estate of the estate
•4. Will: is there one or not?
•5. Heirs (names) with interest in the property
•6. Petitioner/Executor Phone Number
In Probate Real Estate Investing or as a Probate Agent two other important forms you will find in the court probate file will be the "Letters of Testamentary" and the
"Order for Probate".
The "Letters of Testamentary" give the executor the court-approved power to sell the property (our concern). Furnish your title company with a certified copy of the "Letters of Testamentary" (you can get a copy from the file clerk). This allows the title company to accept the signature (Grant Deed) of the executor for transferring the property over to the new buyer when there has been no court confirmation and an order authorizing the sale.
The "Order for Probate" is the court confirmation (not overbid) that the executor has been approved by the court to act with full powers for the estate.
Make sure you note on your tracking sheet under "Tracking Record" the date you searched the file and what forms you examined. This will help you remember what you have done with each file when you talk with the estate.
To recap, at this point in your search, you know who the executor and heirs are. You know their addresses, petitioners phone and the estimated value of the property you are tracking.
Now what do you do with this information?
Once you have searched the week's files, you will have a number of properties for which to approach the executor and heirs. However, before you begin the inquiry, let's discuss the court files you searched which did not have a will but did have real estate.
IF THERE IS NO WILL (This is KEY in Probate Real Estate)
If there is no will, most likely any sale will have to go through the complete court confirmation process. You can still track these properties, but only look for a Level 2, 3,4 or 5. If you have a client who wants the property at a discount you will have to convince the executor to petition the court for the sale to be conducted under the I.A.E.A or hope the appraisal comes out ok considering the 90% rule.
Send the estate a "Letter of Inquiry" (I provide what I use my system) and ask if the property is going to be sold. If there is a positive response, you will want to do more tracking on this property. Since probates without a will usually goes to court confirmation, a purchase at 65-75% of retail will almost always be overbid by someone who reads the Notice of Sale.
This is where most people who track probates start. Since this is the case, the best way to work these probates (if you can't get it out of the court confirmation process) is to represent a end user buyer who can pay more because they are moving in or want it as a long term rental. For now, just understand there are many ways to earn from probates.
You can also plan for the overbid, because if you come in at the right price there is a good chance no one will outbid your client if the overbid price is retail or over.
IF THERE IS A WILL (Probate Agents we scan a will in 3 mins so don't freak)
If the "Petition for Probate" indicates there is a will a copy should be in the court file. Spend the time to read it carefully. Especially when you first start the DF system, you must become familiar with how wills are worded. Soon, it will be second nature to you, and you will quickly find the information we need.
In a will, the deceased declares his/her wishes for the distribution of the assets of the estate. The will tells us which heirs receive an interest in the property. You will list on the tracking sheet (under Heirs' Names and Addresses) only the names of the heirs receiving interest in the real estate. The remaining names won't be necessary, since they have no interest or say in the real estate. You want to deal only with those who can make a decision. Although the executor is the one who has the power and right to sell the property, in actual practice, executors are concerned with doing what the other heirs want. This will be an obstacle you will have to deal with, but I'll show you how I do it.
Future Probate Agents! I recommend that you read each will as you first search the files. Within a few months, you will become familiar with wills and should be able to scan them for key information within a few minutes.
I hope you are getting excited about the opportunity in Probate Real Estate Investing as either a Probate Agent working for yourself or for your clients. This may seem somewhat confusing but it is just a matter of doing it, as I usually have my DF Probate Real Estate Students up and running in 2 weeks.
If you're interested to learn more, come visit me online