Identifying the Probate Assets – Estate Professional Protection

Probate involves the court supervised process of identifying, gathering and supervising of a decedent’s assets to pay debt and distribute assets amongst beneficiaries.  The probate administration process only applies to probate assets.

What are probate assets?

These are assets that were solely owned by the decedent at the time of his death.  Your probate attorney can help facilitate the process and assist in identifying the details.  Here is one illustrative example:

  • Real estate property titled in the name of the deceased and one or more other persons as joint tenants with rights of survivorship is NOT a probate asset
  • Real estate in the sole name of the decedent is considered a probate asset.

Probate Assets - Attorney Orange County

The probate process can be costly, takes a long time and varies depending on the state you’re in.  Many estate industry professionals are involved during this time.

  • Probate attorneys
  • Probate experienced realtors for the sale of real property
  • Estate Sale Companies for the sale of personal property

Estate industry professionals work closely together in order to insure the process is as anxiety-free as possible for you the beneficiary, and they can minimize the costs involved by guiding, and informing you along the way to make the right decisions.

Our team caught up with Brian Sterzer, a respected 17 year probate attorney with Sterzer & Associates to ask him what happens if the probate assets aren’t properly administered, and what kind of impact it can have on the beneficiaries?

“If a probate estate is improperly administered the process can be a nightmare.  It can literally take years to clean up the resulting mess and complete the probate process, and the likelihood of litigation between beneficiaries and the administrator (or executor) increases substantially, which can be very expensive.” Says Sterzer

“Among other things, the impact on the beneficiaries is a delay in receiving their inheritance as well as a much smaller inheritance due to an increase in attorney fees, costs and expenses.”

As a probate attorney, do you look for Probate experienced Realtors and estate sale companies to add to your team? How important is their probate experience to you during this process?

“Very important!  As a probate attorney I need to know that the realtor and estate sale company understand the complexities of the probate process.  If they do not understand probate then the process will almost certainly be delayed and will likely require additional attorney and court time, which costs the estate (and ultimately the beneficiaries) money.”

Professionals recommend that it’s best to learn, ask, find, and hire the best estate industry professionals to protect you and the probate assets; this allows you the time to absorb and securely grieve during a difficult time.  As your guide, we urge you to rely on the professionals that best exhibit the qualities and experience you feel comfortable and confident with.


What do estate sale companies do, and is it worth it?

How to find and hire the best estate sale company

Is an elder attorney the same as a probate lawyer?

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