Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BEWARE! Disclosures Required for a Probate and Trust Sale

Which disclosures require the seller's signature

when selling Real Estate through Probate or Trust?

As the executor, administrator, trustee or conservatee of a piece of real estate, you are exempt from certain disclosures that are required in a traditional real estate transaction. It is very important that you are aware of which disclosures are required for you to fill out and execute and which disclosures you are exempt from completing.

We recently heard a story in which the executor of an estate was represented by a real estate agent who was not familiar with the ins and outs of probate and trust sales. The real estate agent instructed the client to fill out the C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) Transfer Disclosure Statement. The Transfer Disclosure Statement is a document used in traditional real estate sales -- a statement made by the seller about the condition of the property.

In fact, in this case, the client was exempt from filling out this form. Since the executor never occupied the property, the California Association of Realtors does not require her to complete this form. Properties sold through probate and trust are typically sold "as-is."

Unfortunately, as a result of poor advice from her agent, the executor completed the form, thereby opening a "can of worms." About six months after escrow closed and the buyer took possession, the buyer sought to sue the executor for not disclosing information about the property. Once the executor had disclosed some information about the property, she was then obliged to disclose all information about the property; the completion of the form had effectively removed her exemption. If the executor had not filled out the Transfer Disclosure Statement, this would never have occurred.

So a reminder: if you are selling real estate through probate and trust, please take the time to review the C.A.R. Disclosure Chart and be sure you (or your client) do not sign forms that are not required.

And... please remember we are Real Estate Experts in the field of selling real estate through probate and trust. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

http://www.sanbornteam.com/ or 310-777-2858