Probate -- contact the attorney?

6 Replies

OK so I'm very new to investing in general, and to probate specifically.  Just had a question: instead of direct mail to the personal representative, who I'm guessing will be emotional about the property, would it be better to contact the probate attorney instead?  I'm in Los Angeles, and it seems like 90% of the probates have attorneys.  

Thanks in advanced for any insights!


Nope. You're wasting their time. This is not where to start.

Better to contact the PR and develop a rapport. Look for problems that you can help them solve. 

@Rick H. I've submitted an offer for a property in probate that was on the MLS. It's been a frustrating process with the agent who didn't honor our deadline for a response (which was the first by many days) but waited for more offers and then did a multiple counter offer, meaning they countered several offers. We were all cash, no contingencies and accepted their counter offer, yet we still don't know if we have the deal.

We got to thinking... why go through all of this when you can just go to court and bid 5% above whatever the offer is.  After all, if ours was the accepted offer, someone could do that to us.  

Any thoughts/strategies?  Are we doing this all wrong?

Be prepared to wait. Probate is not a quick process. The lawyers need to justify their fees. Three years is not unusual.

@Faun Kime I think your basic thinking is sound. It's what I call, ' Thinking outside the casket' (outside the box).

While not especially creative, going to court and overbidding has been a strategy since 1852 when California's first probate real estate laws were enacted after statehood.

There is an overbid formula that you and your agent must follow. The good news is that you do not need to bring funds to court if you are winning bidder as a 10-30 day escrow is typically agreed. Normally a 10% deposit payable to PR is to be expected. 

That bad news is that a winning bidder who does not perform gets hit pretty hard is unable to perform. Expect a big chunk of your deposit, perhaps more if sanctions ordered. 

I've never been a big fan of competitive bidding when I am a buyer, hence all the way out strategies that I employ.

Thanks for the info @Rick H. .  This property is an especially good deal, so we'll put up with the competitive bidding, up to a point.  I'm new to the probate process, so it's hard to be too creative when you're just learning.   Any reading you recommended?