Probate Real Estate Services
When a person dies, their personal and real property may need to be divided between and passed on to the remaining heirs or eligible beneficiaries. The probate process facilitates this transfer and, in order to do so, the court appoints a personal representative to act on behalf of the deceased person. If the deceased person owned a home, their property may need to be sold in order to divide the proceeds between two or more heirs. In other cases, a single heir may simply not want the property that they have inherited.
In either case, it is strongly advised that the personal representative obtain the services of a licensed, professional Realtor to undertake the task of preparing the home for sale, effectively marketing it, and assist in completing the necessary paperwork. As your Realtor, I can help reduce the stress and burden of selling the home, no matter what condition the home is in.
Personal representatives encumbered with the task of selling the deceased’s home have many duties that require their focus. Furthermore, they may not even reside in Portland making a home sale that much more problematic. Being a probate sales specialist, I understand these circumstance first hand and have experience working clients in these situations.
As such, I am proud to offer the following services.
Free Pricing Evaluation - I will always provide a home pricing evaluation (a.k.a. comparative market analysis) for the property, free of charge and with no obligation.
Contractor Services - Provide referrals and coordinate contractors such as estate liquidators, appraisers, junk haulers, cleaning crews, home staging services, etc.
Superior Marketing - I employ the latest in marketing techniques and technology that many Realtors, let alone for-sale-by-owners, do not match. Depending on the home, this may include specialized social media marketing with professional photos and videos highlighting the home and neighborhood, drone photography and video, and 3D modeling/virtual tours for exceptional homes.
Open Houses - Host the best in open houses and ensure easy showing of the property.
Out-of-Town Assistance - For personal representatives that do not live in Portland, I can assist, as necessary, in maintaining the property’s presentable appearance while on the market.
A guide to the Probate Process
The Probate Process
A guide for court-appointed Personal Representatives.
Probate is basically a legal process used to transfer property from a deceased person to a living person. The system is also used to compile the available assets, settle any of the deceased person’s outstanding debts, and distribute the remaining assets to the eligible beneficiaries. To make this happen, a court will oversee the process and make sure that the deceased person’s estate is managed properly.
As part of this oversight, the court shall appoint someone to serve as a personal representative, also known as the “executor”. The court gives the personal representative legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased person so that they may manage the deceased person’s affairs.
Please be aware, the probate case file is a public record.
How long does the probate process take?
The probate process can take anywhere from a minimum of four months to several years to complete. On average, however, many law firms have found that a probate proceeding without complications or conflicts lasts approximately six to nine months.
How much does probate cost?
Under Oregon law, the personal representative of the estate is entitled to a fixed percentage of the value of the total estate. Extra costs may be approved by the court for the personal representative and the attorney if the estate is complicated. Other costs may include court filing fees, legal notices published in the local newspaper and any other necessary expenses.
Your attorney shall generally charge an hourly rate for their services.
Please note, attorney fees can vary greatly depending on the case. Also, attorney fees must be approved by the court before they can be paid.
Your Realtor will generally charge a standard industry commission for the marketing and sale of the real property.
What is the probate process?
1. The will.
If the deceased person had a will, the will must be “proved” and delivered to the court. To prove a will, the witness to the will must complete an affidavit under oath. Otherwise, the witness to the will may have to make a personal appearance in court to testify that the deceased person was of sound mind and knew what he or she was doing when they signed their will.
2. Select the personal representative.
The selected personal representative shall be responsible for handling the deceased person’s affairs. A will shall typically name a personal representative. However, if the deceased person died without a will, the court will select the personal representative. In this case, when there is no will, the personal representative may also be known as the “administrator”.
3. Give notice.
The attorney handling the case shall publish a “notice to creditors” in the local newspaper. Once this is done, any creditors that are owed debts by the deceased person now have four months in which to bring a claim against the estate.
Please note, it is the responsibility of the personal representative to ensure that all debts are paid. All creditors that bring claims against the estate within the four month window must be repaid from the estate before the remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs (see step 8).
4. Notify the heirs.
At the same time, all of the deceased person’s heirs and other people named in the will must be notified of the probate proceeding. This shall be done with a formal letter from the attorney handling the case.
5. Make an inventory.
The personal representative must identify all assets of the estate, determine their value, and prepare an inventory.
Once prepared, the inventory must be filed with the court. This step must be completed within 60 days of being appointed personal representative. The task can be relatively easy, or may turn out to be quite complicated and time consuming. It all depends on the type of assets and the kind of records left by deceased person.
6. Prepare the tax returns.
The personal representative must prepare the necessary tax returns and pay any taxes due, which may include state and/or federal taxes.
7. Prepare and account.
The personal representative must prepare a report, also known as an “account”. The account shall be submitted to the court, the heirs and any other people that are named in the will. The account must describe all of the money paid out by the estate and all of the money collected by the estate. It must also list all of the important actions taken in connection with the probate of the estate.
For example, if the deceased person’s home was sold while in probate, the sale of the home must be described in the account.
8. Distribute the assets.
Once the court has approved of all of the actions described in the account and confirms that all debts and probate expenses have been paid, the remaining assets may be distributed to the people and entities name in the will. If the person died without a will, the remaining proceeds are distributed to the heirs of the deceased person.
Do I need an attorney?
Probate in Oregon involves a good deal of paperwork that must be filed in a timely manner. To achieve the results you want, probate should be handled with an understanding of the legal principles involved.
A probate lawyer can help you avoid the many possible tax traps and other problems that could arise. Also, a lawyer can help you prepare and file the legal documents and prepare you for hearings in court.
Do I need a real estate agent?
If the deceased person’s estate includes real property, you may decide that you wish to keep the home. However, many people find themselves in a position where they either do not need an additional home or decide it best to simply divide up the proceed of the sale of the home between the descendants or heirs.
If this is the case, it is strongly advised that you obtain the services of a licensed Realtor to undertake the task of preparing the home for sale, effectively marketing it, and assist in completing the necessary paperwork.
Overall, a Realtor can greatly reduce the stress and burden of selling the home, no matter what condition it is in.
Be wary of probate investors.
If the estate includes real property, you (the personal representative) shall likely receive direct cash offers from probate investors. Any of these offers made by probate investors will undoubtedly be well below the fair market value of the home. These investors are only looking for a quick and cheap deal. Please do not think that taking a quick cash offer is the only way to avoid hassle. A Realtor can also provide a hassle-free experience, even if you live out of state.
The guidelines available in this document are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem including, but not limited to, specific advice regarding the probate process. Use of and access to this document do not create an attorney-client relationship, nor do they create and agent-client relationship between Alex Roy and the user.