How to Navigate Family Dynamics
While Running a Loved Ones Estate
I’d like to share a little bit about some of the issues or concerns I have encountered over the years when managing the emotional side of handling San Diego probate and trust sales. As you can imagine, family is a very big piece of managing the whole probate or trust process; hence, this article. I’ve witnessed the good and the, well… not-so-good side emotionally of family and friends who are forced to deal with the details of their loved ones estate. I’ve seen family members get along wonderfully with each other, working together to take care of all the tasks that need to be addressed to settle a San Diego probate or trust. I’ve also witnessed the flipside, in which the personal representative (PR) is doing their best to manage unhappy or uncooperative family members.
The difficulty is usually the result of some kind of a family dynamic or because a family member has some issue and will not respect the PR’s position of authority. This makes moving through this process challenging. And, not surprisingly, problems frequently involve the decedent’s personal property. Sometimes a beneficiary believes that the decedent told them that they could have certain possessions but nothing was ever recorded in writing, which places the San Diego PR in a difficult spot.
To protect themselves and the San Diego estate, the PR is put in a position of having to do whatever the San Diego probate attorney is recommending. Having a will is helpful because the PR simply follows the decedent’s wishes as written in their will. When no will is available, the assets, including the San Diego probate property proceeds, are distributed as directed by the San Diego probate court. Regardless of whatever conversations may have occurred between the decedent and family members or friends, the San Diego probate judge will determine the division of the assets; that is the legal process. However, explaining the process to the beneficiaries can be a challenge. The good news is that most of the time, when beneficiaries understand the process because it has been adequately explained to them, they are cooperative. In most cases the PR is simply tasked with being an overseer of the probate process. While the PR is executing these responsibilities, it really helps to be connected to a skilled San Diego probate attorney.
Because the PR is experiencing their own mourning and emotions, even while dealing with the other beneficiaries (who may be mostly family), keeping the two roles separated can be challenging. Having a San Diego probate attorney as part of the team gives you, the PR, someone to field questions to and perhaps step in and help with the sometimes more extreme issues, also known as the “messy stuff.“
What a relief it can be to have a San Diego probate attorney regulate what is to be done according to the law, protecting both you and the San Diego estate in probate. Your attorney assists you by referring to the San Diego probate law while handling the disposition of the estate. Additionally, when it comes to situations where family members are doing things outside of what needs to be done, according to the law, the San Diego probate attorney can take action to get things back on track. In some cases, the attorney can relieve the PR by having the actual conversations with the beneficiary who is not cooperating. The unattached person, the probate attorney, can be what one of my clients referred to as “the bad guy.” The attorney is someone to metaphorically stand behind you, the PR, and say, “Well, nevertheless, this is how it has to be.” And the PR can then simply continue with the tasks that need to be addressed with less tension and uncomfortable feelings.
I want to touch on your ability, as the PR, to keep things as calm as possible by simply keeping the beneficiaries informed. If the beneficiaries don’t know the steps that are being taken, they might get anxious. They may start talking amongst themselves and because they don’t have a clear picture of how the San Diego estate in probate is being handled they may begin to assume the worst.
In most cases keeping the beneficiaries informed does not have to be in the form of any official paperwork, it can just be regular conversations with each of them. Communication always alleviates stress for people no matter what process they’re going through. When the attorney and the probate real estate professional are keeping the PR informed, then the PR can pass on the accurate information to the beneficiaries. When the beneficiaries know what to expect and they know what is happening, experience shows that the process goes much smoother.
Because I just mentioned the probate real estate professional as part of the whole process, I’d like to share a bit about the necessity of having a skilled, experienced probate real estate professional. This should be a person, like me, who has the right skills, the right experience, and knows how to help you with the many details associated with the sale of the decedent’s property.
It’s never too early to partner with a real estate professional that is an expert at helping PR’s with a property in probate. The largest asset in an estate is typically the home of the decedent. Both the home and the personal property prove to be the most time consuming part of representing the San Diego estate in probate, so having a professional be the orchestrator of the real estate process would be a relief for several reasons. I use the words “professional orchestrator” because the help a real estate professional provides is very much about orchestrating. My purpose, as your professional orchestrator, is to provide the answers to your questions, to present your options, to introduce you to people that can help with the personal property, and to guide you through the preparation, marketing and successful sale of the decedent’s home.
Additionally, hiring a probate real estate professional, like me, means that the beneficiaries will begin to feel comfortable because they know that steps are being taken and progress is being made to handle their loved ones estate properly. As your probate real estate advisor, at a minimum you will receive a weekly update that can then be shared with the beneficiaries. This can be accomplished by including important information about the decedent’s home with current facts that can be forwarded easily. Again, I work to help you, so that the beneficiaries feel calm and trust that everything is going well.
If you and your family need guidance through the San Diego probate process call me at 619.741.0111, my team and I look forward to helping you.