Pre Probate Inherited Lists

In this post, I wanted to highlight the distinctions between ‘pre-probate lists’, known in some parliaments as inheritance lists, and a courthouse-compiled list of probates. I can’t say one is superior over the other – taking a more balanced view, nothing is a panacea and each set of data has its advantages and disadvantages.

With probate leads, we can say for a certainty that the property is in the probate process. This type of lead is triggered when someone petitions the court to be appointed the Personal Representative, also known as the executor or administrator, among other terms. The length of this court-supervised process will vary widely by state and the size or complexity of the estate.

Death does not equal probate. When someone passes with an airtight living trust, there is no necessity for the court-supervised process of probate.
Contrast this with ‘pre-probate lists’, which has not entered the probate process. This term is somewhat misleading – the property may or may not ever reach the court house steps. Some will be probated, some won’t. The reason being is many people have an ironclad living trust before they pass, and this would normally circumvent the need for court supervision. There is a myth that a living trust will always avoid probate. There may be issues when the late homeowner refinanced the home and other exceptions, but we’ll leave those details to the lawyers and focus on the more mundane, working with the presumption that a living trust will ensure that the property does not enter probate.

To learn more about living trusts, consult this recent Kiplinger article.

A pre-probate list is essentially an obituary list, with the capability to identify the next of kin

Clearly, a death list can be readily attained through obituary records, but technology exists to then cull the data against to ferret out the contact details of the next of kin. Hence, you can not only obtain the name of the decedent and property address, but also the contact information of the close blood relatives.

The biggest drawback I have seen with these types of lists is a lack of motivation to sell the property in many cases. It could be a situation where the living spouse is under the same roof and wants to stay in the home. I noted in an earlier post that there is no reason to believe the living spouse’s decision to stay in the home is cast in stone – not uncommonly, they will change their mind at some point down the road.

Yet we find that when working a list of probates, nearly always, the heirs are looking for a pay day, estate-related expenses and creditors must be paid and combined with other factors, there is an urgency to liquidate the real property attached to the estate.

In conclusion, probate leads are more motivated to sell on balance, than pre-probate or inherited lists. 

Which is not to dismiss the value of inherited property lists. There are other advantages I will expound on in an upcoming post – be sure to subscribe to stay in the know.


Jim Rutkowski has married his legal background with his real estate experience and passion for marketing to help real estate agents, investors, property management & financial professionals get more consummated transactions by getting their message out to families that have duties under a will, probate proceeding or trust agreement. If you are in the arena of probate, trust or inheritance, Jim is always happy to bounce some ideas around – call him at 310-595-5112 or send a scribe to






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