Let’s begin with an explanation of “The Dash”.  In this context it is the symbol (“—“) representing the time spent between the date of birth and the date of death. It’s the duration here on earth that we built our lives and families.  We worked hard, purchased homes and paid mortgages. We were sensible about furnishings, automobiles, quality clothing, jewelry, books, records, art, tools, etc.  

Whether we are part of The Greatest Generation (1901-1945) or the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), we have accumulated and will transfer more than $30 TRILLION dollars’ worth of wealth to our heirs.  Factors like how we held title to our possessions, whether or not we devised a will, if we created a trust or even what things we acquired directly relate to how we leave our legacy.  After we pass away, the sum total of life’s belongings will be transferred, sold, donated to charity, given away or trashed. Unless our directives are clear, most of our belongings will end up in the dumpster without benefit to anyone.  Understand that with or without a will, unless you hold your entire estate in a well maintained trust, PROBATE is inevitable. 

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of appointing a Personal Representative (PR) and distributing of a decedent’s estate.  The Personal Representative is either assigned by you (as the Executor) or appointed by courts; usually next-of-kin (as the Administrator) to oversee the administration of your estate.  

Questions You Should Ask Yourself

  • How knowledgeable are those entrusted to carry out the role of Personal Representative for your estate?    
  • Does that person know who to contact or what resources are available to carry out your intentions affordably and expeditiously?

Who Should Assist the Personal Representative?

There are three types of professionals to assist your Personal Representative with the administration of your estate:

  1. An experienced attorney - will file required documents, keep the Personal Representative apprised of the procedural timeline and how to legally act in the best interest of the estate.
  2. A Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) - the certified probate realtor is your team’s boots on the ground and too is contractually obligated to represent the estate’s highest and best interest.  An experienced certified probate realtor should be relied upon to not only prepare for the transfer of your home, business, or income producing property but will also assist your Personal Representative compassionately with securing, sorting, decluttering & clean-out, estate sales, discounted storage, property maintenance, property management, large item inventory and the coordination of donations to charitable institutions. 
  3. A tax accountant - assist clients with their financial and income tax statements. 

Ideally you’ll choose your team ahead of time to carry out the demands of administering your estate.  Your preselected team is contractually required by law to act in good faith solely on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries.