At All the Leads, we’ve long contended that knowledge is power. If you browse the blog posts on our site and learn a little about the education we offer via our conference call video archive, you will see this principle in action. As a real estate professional you will be called upon to delve into a number of areas and interact with professionals in many different fields. So that you will not have to deal with the topic and professionals in the field, e.g., probate attorneys, from a position of ignorance, we are going to debunk the following myths about probate and wills in general.
- If someone dies without a will, the state gets everything: This is a very common belief among a lot of people and one that is totally wrong. Although inheritance laws vary somewhat by state, when someone dies the spouse and children are usually the first in line to inherit the deceased person’s estate. Usually assets only go to the state when no relatives can be found. It is still a good idea to have a will to clear up any confusion.
- It takes a lifetime to probate an estate: Usually the probate process is delayed only for a period of time as to allow creditors to file a claim. This period varies from state to state but is generally not very long.
- The costs associated with probate will deplete the estate’s assets: For most estates, probate isn’t even required in the first place. If an estate does need a formal probate, then the cost of probate is usually less than 5% of the estate’s total value. Sure, survivors are likely to face attorney’s fees but in some states attorneys charge a percentage of the estate’s value rather than a flat or hourly fee. This fee is usually less than if those same survivors were to pay a flat out hourly fee to a probate attorney.
- The oldest child is entitled to be the executor of a parent’s estate: Birth order does not hold any water when it comes to who will be the executor of an estate. The court usually goes with whoever is named in the will regardless of whether or not they are the eldest sibling. The only exception to the court respecting the wishes of the deceased in these cases is when there is a compelling reason to not have the person named in the will be the executor.
Now that you’ve learned about some of the common misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding wills and probate, you can start the probate real estate investing process with accurate information and with confidence. This knowledge will also help you when you purchase listing leads from us. Don’t let probate be the one area that you are lacking knowledge.