Probate is simply the process of administering a decedent’s estate. Most of us have heard the stories about how long and headache filled the probate process usually is, and we dread it when we actually have to face it.
The reality, though, is that done right, the probate process for a house in Brevard County can be as simple as four easy steps. The flip side is that both the dread and simplicity often open people up to certain probate scams. Let’s take a look.
The Probate Process for a House in Brevard County – How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Probate Process for a House in Brevard County
Without the right kind of trust in place, probate usually follows a person’s passing. Probate is the process by which the decedent’s debts are settled and his or her property (held on his or her name alone and not otherwise legally distributed) is transferred to beneficiaries and heirs.
Typically, the probate process follows four steps.
- The first step involves filing a petition with the probate court to admit the will and appoint an executor or, if there’s no will, to appoint an administrator of the estate. A hearing date is set, and notice of the hearing is published locally.
- After being appointed by the court, the decedent’s personal representative gives notice to all creditors, and an inventory of the estate is made.
- After determining which claims are legitimate, the personal representative pays all expenses, debts, and taxes from the estate. Sometimes, this involves selling estate assets to meet obligations.
- Assets (legal title to a house, for instance) are disbursed according to the decedent’s wishes expressed in the will or, in case there is no will, according to the state’s intestate succession laws.
And that’s it for the probate process for a house in Brevard County and for the entire estate as well. Just be wary about any scams that may pop up along the way.
Common Probate Scams
These are some new twists on old scams that owe their re-birth (and effectiveness) chiefly to the Internet and email. They always, however, target the vulnerable.
- Probate Avoidance Scam – The perpetrators of this scam usually target the elderly. It involves persuading victims to buy fraudulent products that purport to help them avoid probate, for example, a very expensive living trust kit. Once the scammers have the money in their hands, they either never deliver or provide a product that is actually legally useless.
- Inheritance/Estate Tax Scam – Some states still levy an inheritance or estate tax. Using a trusted person’s or organization’s name, scammers contact potential executors/personal representatives informing them that they stand to inherit a bunch of money. The only catch is that – because in these states the tax must be paid before probate can go forward – the victims must first send the scammers an inflated tax.
- Fraudulent Listings Scam – This one owes its effectiveness to the popularity of sites like Craigslist for home shoppers, especially renters, and applies particularly to the probate process for a house in Brevard County. Scammers research the property of recently deceased individuals and advertise it for rent. Then, when the scammers collect the deposit and first month’s rent, they disappear, leaving the people engaged in probate to deal with the upset victim.
If you’re facing probate, especially the probate process for a house in Brevard County, it’s probably not as ominous and frightening as it first seems. Knowing what it involves and being aware of the common probate scams are good first steps – but there’s more to consider.
If you’d like to learn more about probate and how to get through it smoothly, contact us by phone at (321) 549-8686 or fill our simple form.
House Beagle is not just a house-buying company. We are different from the rest. We are real estate consultants. Owned and operated by a local Brevard County family, we help our neighbors evaluate their real estate related situation so that they can make the best decision for them. We are real estate investors, so yes, we’re looking to make money. BUT we value integrity most. Sometimes that means we make less, so you can make more. While we could make more buying your house for cash now, we will give you options, including listing on the MLS, since we operate a Licensed and Insured Real Estate Brokerage as well.
You may need to sell because you inherited a house. We can close on your timeline giving you time to vacate so that you can sort through family heirlooms. Or if you need to sell a house fast because of a legal situation such as in the case of a foreclosure or divorce, we can help. We can close as soon as a clear title is determined. You don’t have to clean the house, and you can leave behind anything that you don’t want. We’ll even donate items that can be used by someone else.
If you want an honest, local real estate consultant to help you decide what to do with that house that needs too many repairs, or you’re a tired landlord, or the house causes distress in another way, contact House Beagle today. Not only will we give you a cash offer for your house, but help you determine the best strategy for you. We are your local real estate consultant!