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Building Your Team of Professionals

Do you feel overwhelmed because you were named the personal representative for a loved one’s estate? The good news is that the process of managing can be a lot more manageable if you build your team of professionals to help you through this process. They can help you with everything from legal matters to liquidation. If there is a will involved, ideally you want to start off by confirming if you are the potential representative (executor) of the estate. If you weren’t deemed as the executer and there was no will you can petition the court to become the administrator of the estate.

Duties of an Executor

Executors and/or administrators, have many duties and wear many hats in this process. These duties include and are not limited to paying the decedents bills until the process is completed, securing the estate, picking up the mail at the estate so it looks like someone still lives there, liquidating assets, filing the proper paperwork to the court and much more. The quickest way to get on top of these duties is to do the following:

  1. Locate the death certificate. This is a document that is needed by the court to proceed. The decedents’ policy owners may also request these documents.
  2. Confirm there is will or trust. This document should already be filed with the court but in some cases, it is not. If there is a trust involved you may not need to go through the probate process at all.
  3. Stay organized. Generating to-do lists will help keep you organized, ensure that you stay focused, and keep you on track during this process.
  4. Locate all assets and liabilities of the decedents. You’ll want to gather this information before you begin the process because if you file and find that there are more assets of the decedents you’ll have t refile. Be sure to check out of state for assets the decedent may have had if they moved around in their lifetime.
  5. Locate all beneficiaries. This is very important to do upfront so that family members don’t hold up the process when you’re nearing the end.

Assets and Liabilities

If this wasn’t handled by the decedent before he/she passed it can be a tedious process to find all of this information. The easiest way to find this information is to go through the decedents’ mail, bank records, computer logs, email accounts. You can also ask other family members if they have any information about assets that the decedent may have had in other states. You’ll become a private investigator the decedent.

Your Professional Team

In order to make this process as smooth as possible, it’s recommended that you gather your team professionals. This can be a very daunting process that you may not have if the answers for especially when it comes to the legal portion of the process. They are there for a reason and is to protect your estate and its assets. Even if the property is willed to someone the Deed will indicate who the property will actually go to. You’ll know which professionals to use when you locate all of the assets for the decedent.

Probate Attorney’s

  • Testate: When a passes away with a will.
  • Intestate: When a person passes away without a will.

Whether a person passes away Testate or Intestate its recommended to get a probate attorney to help guide you through the process. They are here to ensure assets are divided properly to beneficiaries, ensure that all of the estate bills are paid, bank accounts and retirement accounts are accounted for, and to ensure that all of the paperwork is filed properly the first time.

There are some cases where beneficiaries appeal the court’s judgment because they aren’t happy with the outcome. This will definitely prolong the case so its a good idea to have a probate attorney for things like this that can arise unexpectedly. If the estate‚Äôs assets don’t cover the costs of all the liabilities, fortunately in most cases the heirs are not responsible for them. This is an added benefit of a probate attorney filing the proper paperwork to protect the heirs and their personal assets.

Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES)

If you are appointed by the court to be the administrator for an estate and that person passed away Intestate or if the court cannot determine who the property should go to you may have to sell the estate.

As we all know, selling a property without being in probate can be a frustrating process. When you have the courts involved dictating the outcome it makes it that much more stressful.

A Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) receives special training to deal with the sale of the properties that are in probate.

A CPRES has the special training to understand the probate process, knows how a home is sold during probate, how a court confirmation probate sale works, how to sell real estate under a living trust and conservatorship and any special probate rules regarding the sale of real property in your state.


In some cases, the property may need to be appraised to find the true market value. A CPRES would be a perfect candidate to assist with connecting you with vetted certified appraisers that are tried and trusted in your area.

To access an appropriate list of probate resources, please call us at (562) 350-0550 or email us at and we will personally guide you to the right local professional.

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