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Mistake 1: Not having the right guidance and counsel to help you through the probate process.

If you don't feel comfortable filing the petition for probate on your own, you should seek professional legal advice from a qualified attorney. And be sure to consult with a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) to help you reach your real estate objectives.

Mistake 2: Not knowing how probate works.

Begin by looking for a will or a living trust the decedent may have left for the family, but don't be discouraged if you cannot find these documents. It will still be possible to settle the estate. Make sure you also get the lowdown on how to maximize the estate’s real property.

Mistake 3: Selecting the wrong service providers to help liquidate the estate and prepare it for sale.

The biggest challenge in settling an estate is deciding whether to keep or liquidate the assets. It is best to consult a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) to discuss your options, so you can make the right decision for your particular situation. For a preferred and approved resource list, please reach out to me.

Mistake 4: Thinking the probate process will only take a few weeks and relying on your attorney to handle everything.

Executors and administrators often expect that probate will either be a very short process or one that drags on for a long time. To get an overall idea of the basic steps involved in settling a loved one's estate, request a Probate Timeline. Review a Probate Timeline to get an idea of timing elements.

Mistake 5: Not securing the estate’s personal property.

As an executor or administrator, you have a fiduciary responsibility to the estate, which includes safeguarding the estate's real and personal property. All your decisions must always be in the best interests of the estate. Take a complete inventory, and make sure to have a good security plan in place.

Mistake 6: Leaving the property uninsured or underinsured as you settle the estate.

Natural disasters can strike at any time, so it's essential that the personal representative make sure that the property is adequately insured while the estate is being settled. Check with a reputable insurance agent about your exposure.

Mistake 7: Attempting to sell the estate’s real property without understanding the market.

The executor or administrator acts as the owner of the property and is responsible for making sure the property is sold at the best price, based on current market value. Make sure to consult a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) for an up-to-date, accurate market valuation of the property.

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