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Trust & Probate sales

Certified Probate and Trust Specialist




Probate is a legal process set up by the state of California where the assets & belongings of someone who has died are transferred to their heirs or beneficiaries of their will. In essence, the probate clears the title so the property can be transferred.

Whether the deceased had a will or not, they must go through the probate process with the court. The only way to avoid probate is if there is a living trust.  

Different types of probates can take longer depending on the property’s value. Probate typically be as short as six-eight weeks and as long as two years.



Two types of authority can be assigned to Executors and Administrators (personal representatives) in a probate case, Full Authority & Limited Authority

  • Full Authority grants Executors and Administers the ability to act on behalf of the Estate with less supervision from the probate court. 
  • Limited Authority, however, requires more oversight by the court, including an additional court hearing to allow for overbids.

Get ready for all the phone calls and mailers.

Once the petition is filed with the court, it becomes a public record. Third-party companies collect this data and sell it to investors, real estate agents, and other services. You will get a lot of phone calls and mail offering you “quick cash” for the home.

Investors are attempting to purchase the property pennies on the dollar in an attempt to make a profit or even a windfall at the heirs’ expense. Be careful; before the real property can be sold through probate, it must be appraised. A Probate Referee does this. In California, probate referees are appointed by the State Controller and assigned to a particular case by the court clerk. They are paid for this service directly by the estate, usually a percentage of the appraised value. Don’t make this mistake. You may not have the authority to enter into a contract with an agent/buyer or, worse, agree to a price that is under market value or below the Probate Referee value.

When can you sign a listing agreement or a contract to sell the property?

To sign a listing agreement or a contract to sell the property, you must have the Letters issued by the court and a bond. The bond, if ordered by the judge, is essentially insurance for the estate in the event of mismanagement by the personal representative. This process typically takes 60 days after filing the Probate Petition.

Why do you need the guidance of a Certified Probate Real Estate Agent?

Just like in any real estate transaction in California, most heirs decide to hire a licensed real estate agent to help with the sale of a home. It is a wise decision in any real estate purchase or sales situation and even more so in probate. Why? Because probate is more complex than a typical real estate transaction and because a successful probate sale requires a qualified team, which includes a real estate agent, attorney, probate referee, judge, and others.

While one cannot select a probate judge, a personal representative is free to choose the attorney who will represent the estate and the real estate agent who will list and market the property. To make sure that you get the best representation in complex probate matters, you want to choose a listing agent who either specializes or has proven experience with probate sales.

An experienced real estate agent is especially crucial in limited authority cases. Simply put, “authority” in probate means how much power the personal representative has. In California probate, there are two types of authority: full authority and limited authority. Full authority is much less restrictive, mainly because it does not require court confirmation. Limited authority automatically includes court supervision, so the property can only be sold with the close supervision of the probate judge, and the sale must meet specific criteria.

If you are an heir of a home in California and you are stuck with limited authority, you want to hire a real estate agent who understands probate procedures well and who has been through multiple overbidding processes.

If you don’t have an experienced probate real estate agent in your personal network, a probate attorney may be able to recommend a real estate agent for you. However, don’t feel obligated to go with the attorney’s recommendations. Only you can decide whom you want on your probate team!




Trust – The most important reason is trust. As a Certified Probate and Trust Specialist, you can be assured that we will work with you to get the highest possible price for the property.

 I have seen time and time again where a real estate agent has listed the home and represented both the seller and the buyer that had a sales price significantly lower than the market. The real estate made all the money at the cost of the heirs.

Experience – With over 35 years of experience, we have seen the twists and turns and the complications that come when selling homes, especially in probate. Challenges such as selling a home that requires a court confirmation, a tenant or a family member occupying a property, reverse mortgages, title issues, repairs, and trash outs are just a few that we have experienced. Furthermore, the contracts for the listing and selling are different from a standard sale, and is important to work with someone who understands these.


Real Estate Repair Program – Just a few repairs can translate into a significant difference in how much money you can get for the property.


Lenders require that a home meet minimum property standards. If a home does not meet these standards, the home will not be eligible for financing, leaving only cash buyers and investors. 

We will provide you with an estimate from our repair vendors, and once you have approved, these costs can be deferred until the close of escrow. This way, you have no up-front out-of-pocket expenses allowing you to get top dollar for the home.

Repairs can include clean-up and haul-away services, home repairs, vehicle removal, movers & packers, yard maintenance, pool services, eviction, locksmith, and more!

  • Valuation and Appraisal Services

As part of the process, a probate referee will have an appraise the home. This appraisal is based on an exterior-only inspection of the property, and the sales must be within 90% of the probate referee’s value. If the property’s condition is poor, the market value may be less. As a Certified Residential Appraiser, we can provide a formal report.

Also, as a certified residential real estate appraiser, we can provide you with a Date of Death Appraisal (fee required) for tax purposes. 

  • Great Marketing Sells Homes 

With our digital marketing strategy, we ensure you get the highest price for your property in the least amount of time. It begins with preparing the home for sale, whether this requires a clean-out, repairs, or even staging. Over 80% of people will see your home first see your home online, and professional photography, aerial/drone imagery, and 3D imagery are a must! In addition, you will get a social media and email campaign targeted to potential buyers.