Estate and Power of Attorney Sales
You've been granted power of attorney for property by someone you care about, or appointed as trustee of their estate. Could there be a higher calling, imbued with greater trust? The responsibility is an honour and a solemn obligation. As executor ( estate trustee ), your first duty is to the testator ( the loved one who entrusted you to manage the settling of their affairs after their passing ) and your second duty is to put the interests of all beneficiaries, with an even hand, ahead of your own.
This duty of care - this responsibility to represent others' interests - is the core duty of a Realtor in all client relationships as well. I've had the privilege of working with many executors and powers of attorney over the years. This alignment of mindset gave me the desire to understand more fully the issues that powers of attorney and estate trustees must navigate. I decided to study to become a Certified Executor Advisor. I was surprised to learn how few Realtors take up this challenge.
The programme is richly informative. This was not a real estate industry course like those that grant the Accredited Buyer Representative and Seller Representative Specialist designations. I hold those designations as well. There are nuggets of information in every course, but the CEA programme is a proverbial gold mine. The ABR & SRS courses take place over a handful of half-day in-class sessions and there is no exam. To obtain these designations you simply have to show up and have represented two or three buyers or sellers in the real world.
The CEA programme is an online course that takes weeks to absorb and there is a 50 question rather tricky multiple choice exam with a minimum passing grade of 70%. I outline the differences in these courses to illustrate the depth of training the CEA programme provides, and the resulting benefit to you, as an executor or power of attorney, in choosing to work with professionals who hold this designation. Professionals in 17 different roles comprise the CEA community. In your solemn role you will likely require guidance and services from many of these professionals; for example: accountants, lawyers, financial planners, estate planners, appraisers, auctioneers, etc.
There is so much information in the CEA programme that it is impossible for any individual to remember it all and by no means can any single professional provide guidance to a power of attorney or executor for every situation, question, or issue that arises. The higher power of a CEA is his or her access to the community of professionals in all disciplines who are CEAs and in the comprehensive suite of tools, resources, and course material at our disposal, provided by the CICEA (Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors).
As in marketing a home, managing your loved one's affairs most effectively involves planning. If you will be called upon to make decisions about the sale of your loved one's property, you may want to do some work ahead of time to ensure the groundwork is laid to best achieve their goals and protect their interests. How do they hold title? Should that be changed? Would it be wise to set things up to avoid property being included in the estate, to avoid probate, or not? Are there significant tax considerations? Are there beneficiaries whose inheritance should be placed in trust? Does the testator intend for properties to be sold or given to beneficiaries? Will the estate have sufficient funds to pay all taxes (capital gains on properties particularly, when considering real estate)? What updates, improvements and repairs to the property are manageable and what will be the return on investment?
As estate trustee or power of attorney, when it is time to sell real property, how is this process best managed to maximize the value for all beneficiaries or other stakeholders? It is your responsibility not simply to complete the task at all costs, but to achieve the best results and satisfy your loved one's intentions as efficiently as possible considering time and finances.
I was excited to find the CEA programme, honoured to have taken the course and joined the community, and humbled to have the opportunity to continue helping individuals and families in some of the most important circumstances of their lives, with greater knowledge and new resources at my disposal. The work I've done representing estates over the years has been among the most rewarding of my real estate career - circumstances are fraught with emotion and complexity for the point person and for the family - the opportunity to mitigate anxiety through a structured process, delivering results patiently and above expectations, is its own reward.
Tools I bring to the table to help you as an executor or power of attorney, aside from the knowledge and connections made by taking the course, include:
- many calculators, including for probate fees, inheritance longevity & income, more.
- estate assets & liabilities spreadsheet, notifications list, executor duties checklist, executor testator review form, many more.
Have you been entrusted as an executor or power of attorney?
Particularly if you will be dealing with real property on behalf of a loved one; perhaps their home, cottage, or investment properties, I take the responsibility to help you through the entire process, considering all options, seriously. If you have questions or would like to discuss the process further and you feel comfortable speaking with me, send me a quick message using the form below.