So I went to my local courthouse today in Orange County, CA. I searched through tons of their probate files, but I had great difficulty finding the property address and mailing address of the executor of the estate. Let me explain.
So there are tons of types of Probate right? Which types are specifically having to do with a home?
First I looked through Probates that "Determine Succession to Real Property"
In these, I easily found the info I needed, but all the properties were under 150k in value, which in California means they were all small Land properties.
Then I looked at Probates for "Guardianship of Property", but this had to do with an adult overseeing a property where the executor was a child (in one case, they were 1 year-old). So, in this case, the Grandma was put as guardian of the property until the child was of age to take ownership of the property as the executor.
Then I looked at probates for "Steward of the Property" (I think that's what it was called). However, in this case the executor was incapable of acquiring the home, so someone else was assigned as the steward temporarily until that person dies or is able to attain the property. In this case, one executor had a life in prison sentence and in the other the executor was an Alzheimer's patient in a nursing home. Both could not attend to the property so someone else oversaw it temporarily. However, I don't think they have the right to sell it.
Then I looked at Probates that were "Trusts". These all had 20-30 page documents that were extremely difficult to find the info I needed. Also, these included all the personal property, money, etc of the decedent. Sometimes it included property and sometimes it didn't. But sometimes it did not have the mailing address of the executor.
Lastly, nearly all the properties I found had at least 2 executors, many times 4 or 5. In that case, do you just mail one person and hope they all decide to sell? Or do you just not mail those cases?
None of the other Probate titles seemed to be about property. So which one is the right one to look through?
@Joshua Carvalho I feel your pain!
Well not any more but I know exactly what you went through. I use to go the San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and OC court house for 3 months straight to look for leads. During that time I was a able to acquire a great deal of information.
First, I want to say don't pass the land leads up. If you still have those leads or run across them again in the future. Please DM and I can help you potentially turn those into something. Land is a profitable untouched niche by many.
Second, after spending countless hours working the courthouse for leads. I found the sweet spot when I came across "Petitions for Probate" those are the ones that will have the info I believe you are looking for. All the other ones deal with exactly everything you stated and will sometimes disclose a property but its rare. Petitions for Probate are what the Inheritor or beneficiary file when they want to do something on the estate. And 8 or 9 times out of 10 they want to sell the house. Within this file you will find the Decease, the address of the property, the attorney info, PR (executor or administrator) Phone number and address (PR's are who you will market to for the property). And any other info that will assist you with the estate assets.
If you do go back down to look for leads, Petition for Probate is what you should be looking for and hopefully you will have better success. If you have any other questions, please DM me. I work only probate and have had pretty good results. A lot of ppl don't work it mainly because its a process but once you understand it you'll definitely win.
@Joshua Carvalho So you managed to find the keys to the airplane, start the engine and now its began to roll forward. Good time to get some training.
If you wish to focus on off market probates, try pulling only (10) files your first-or next- trip to courthouse.
In CA, the initial document filed is the Petition for Probate. An attachment is also filed which list the names and addresses of the PR and those persons entitled to notice; mostly heirs or beneficiaries under a will, if any.
Reviewing one of these documents in detail will reveal much about the file, including if a will is attached, etc. If a will filed, you'll need to read it to determine what assets are distributed to whom. For example, if the will states that the decedent's home is to go to the United Methodust Church in Fullerton, you must decide if you wish to contact the charity to buy the house once distributed.
Most property will be be sold or distributed. Many properties will be listed and retailed. Some will be fought over and some will be distress situation, but most will be neither of these.
Thank you guys so much for your advice! I greatly appreciate it. Now I know to look for Petitions for Probate. I'll have to give it another round soon.
I posted this back in June, so I ended up deciding on subscribing to Probatedata.com They provide me with hundreds of probate only addresses for a monthly fee. I've sent out a couple hundred postcards so far, but haven't gotten any response. Do you guys have any experience with ProbateData.com or any other Probate supplier websites? If so, what do you think about them?
@Joshua Carvalho I use ProbateData here in Southern California. Although their ability to deliver data has been spotty for the last 6 weeks since they redid their website, ProbateData has been a good list provider. I expect them to fix their current problems. I like that you can filter out probate cases you don't want.
As for not getting a response after only sending out "a couple hundred postcards" that's not surprising. You probably will have to touch the PR for many months before one might call. Also, did you know that between realtors and investors the average PR receives up to about 40 pieces of mail per month according to one PR I talked to (that was for a property in Perris in Riverside County). So, you have to ask yourself, is your marketing piece going to stand out and be kept or just tossed without being looked at. Is a postcard better or worse than a letter? With probate in southern California your marketing pieces have to be competitive.
I've been having the same issue here in Arizona, my next step is to build relationships with probate attorneys.
The best way is to find a service that can get you the phone numbers of the PR. The service I use does a great job in that department. Then get to calling. With a probate, unlike a lot of other issues that arise (Lose of job, Bankruptcy, Etc. ) Someone has left this earth. So, my tip would be to make a friend first before making a pitch. Trust me on this!
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