Probate Sales with a Court Referee Appraisal
Probate sales with a court referee appraisal are required by the Probate Court to sell within no less than 90% of the value. Referee values are part of the I and A, “Inventory and Appraisal” completed by the referee. A referee is a court appraiser who establishes the values of estate property. These values are then made part of the document for the Probate Court called an “I and A.” The referee generally completes a drive-by exterior appraisal on vacant property. They are not always completely accurate.
I work with a few attorneys who rarely have a referee evaluation on the real property as the listing is often very close to the date of death. I recommend using an experienced independent licensed appraiser to evaluate value all probate and trust sales. This gives us a documentable detailed value analysis. On trust sales with heirs or court-mandated sales, we order an appraisal. Generally, I and A are not ordered on a trust sale.
As Realtors, we give estimates of value, they are not appraisals as we are not licensed to appraise. Appraisals are not always the gospel either. I’ve had bank appraisers come in as much as $150,000 low. We still do our estimates of value, a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Realtors can come very close in value. If a case goes to court for any reason, the appraisal gives the independent 3rd party price evaluation documentation.
If you have an I and A, an independent appraisal and a CMA this gives you three sources to support value. The courts never care if property sells overvalue. When a property is sold for less than an I and A, you better have documentable proof of all sale efforts made. Always maintain very detailed records in case there are ever any questions for the probate referee.
Probate sales with a court referee appraisal can be challenging. I will write another blog about referees using case studies. Of course, the names will be changed and the locations to keep anonymity.
Guidelines for probate and trust real estate expert:
- A Superior Court Judge in the Probate Court reviews resume and experience with probate and trust sales
- A Probate Judge first declares a Realtor a probate expert to provide testimony to the court on probate real estate matters.
- Routinely handle probate sales for Professional Fiduciaries and administrators.
- Listed and sold probate and trust sales for over a decade.
- Testified in Probate cases before the court
- Attend overbid hearings in court for properties
- Familiar with the probate process, documents and timelines