In this day and age, buying or selling property under normal circumstances can be a daunting task. Add to that the passing of a loved one and it becomes even more challenging when the nuances of a Probate, Trust, or Conservatorship are taken into consideration. Therefore, when looking for a real estate agent to represent you in your transaction, it is important to work with someone that also understands the legal issues involved.

In California, when someone passes away and owns real property at the time of death, the PROBATE CODE establishes certain rules and procedures for the disposition and distribution of the property. In other words, “Probate” is a legal process by which assets of a deceased person (also referred to as the “Decedent”) are collected, valued and distributed to others in accordance with a Will, or when there is no Will, the method set out by statute. Think of Probate as a “title clearing process.” It provides for judicial supervision by the PROBATE COURT (which also handles Trust, Guardianship, and Conservatorship proceedings) to make sure the Decedent’s property is properly accounted for and distributed as intended after all debts and expenses have been paid. Generally, real estate held in Joint Tenancy, Community Property with Right of Survivorship, or a Living Trust, does not go through Probate.

For more information about the Probate process you can visit our PROBATE page. We work with Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout the Los Angeles area and with my legal background we are particularly well suited to help Clients with their Probate, Trust and Conservatorship transactions. For more information about us you can also visit our TEAM page.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.