Difference Between Probate Leads & Inheritance Lists
There seems to be some confusion between probate lists and inheritance lists, also referred to somewhat misleadingly as a pre-probate lists, and we wanted to resolve this quandary in this post.
First off, death does not equal probate. When someone passes, only a fraction of these cases end up on the courthouse steps. A lot of people have their ducks in a row and have an ironclad living trust. In effect, they circumvent the probate process by clearly spelling out their wishes in a legal document.
When there is no will, or something is contested by the heirs, or if there are title issues, however, the estate ends up in probate, where the Court oversees the liquidation of the estate. The goal is to wind down the earthly affairs of the deceased, paying creditors and distributing the remaining proceeds to the heirs legally entitled to the estate's assets.
In contrast, inheritance lists amount to an obituary list, with the added benefit of identifying the next of kin. That is, when someone passes, this clearly becomes public record and the obituary list is then culled with ancestry.com to identify the husband, wife, sons or daughters.
Everyone has a different motivation in selling the property of the deceased, and each list has it's own advantages/disadvantages.
An inheritance list will get you in front of families much quickly than probate lists. However, you run the risk that those family members are emotionally frozen and unable to make a decision in terms of selling the property. Indeed, they may not have any reason to sell the property, particularly when there is a living spouse that resides under the same roof. Inheritance lists, then, are timelier than probate lists, but with the drawback that there may not be any underlying motivation to sell the home.
Contrast that with probate lists, where we can say with greater certainty that the family has a heightened urgency to sell. So, when comparing inheritance lists and probate lists, it's a trade off between timeliness and motivation to sell.
We've only scratched the surface here, but will expound on this in future posts.