The Hidden Treasures and Profits of Probate

by : Brandon Lambert

To make money in real estate you need an advantage over your competition. So why not just eliminate them! Now I don't mean you need to go out and create a bunch of probate by whacking all your competition. What I do mean is that you need to play real estate the same way I would like for my favorite team to play football-move to another arena. What I mean is that you need to go looking in hiding places that nobody else is looking in to find those hidden treasures. That is where probate comes in. I'll never forget when my partner and I were filming our DVD for our course, The Hidden Treasures and Profits of Probate, at the probate courthouse. (learn more about the course at ) Jimmy asked me how much competition there was at the courthouse. As the camera panned around the room, there was nobody else in the whole office except the two ladies who worked there. How many people do you think were outside bidding on foreclosure properties? The answer is hundreds.

First, let me explain some things about probate. A statistic that may shock you is this: 100% of Americans will die. That's right, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 2.5 million people will die each year. Now here is the thing about that statistic. 70% of those folks will die without a will. Even more important is that regardless whether you have a will or not, your estate will go through probate. The only way to avoid probate is to have your estate in an entity. But ask yourself this question. If so few people even have a will, how many people do you think will put their assets in an entity? To give you an idea about how huge that is, of all the cases coming in to the court system, 24% will be probate cases. In Seattle, WA in 2003, there were more than 6000 probate cases. In Ft Worth, TX in 2006 there were about 3500. Many of those cases had real estate involved. That is where you step in. Most people don't want to work this market because they think it is morbid. It is not morbid. The estates that I have worked with have been some of the most appreciative people I have ever worked with. I will never forget the lady that thanked me for buying her mom's house at fifty cents on the dollar.

So why do all of these estates go through probate? The government requires it for a few reasons. First, the state wants to make sure that the assets are divided according to the will. And if there wasn't a will, then the state takes care of that too. Most states have heirship succession laws in place that says which relatives get what percentage of the estate. The other reason that the law requires estates to be probated is to let any creditors who may have an interest in the estate know that the person has passed away and the creditors will need to file in order to get paid from the assets of the estate. The final reason that the law requires the estate to be probated is that the tax man wants to be paid. It has been said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. With probate they both apply. Not too long ago the federal government made some changes to estate taxes that remove most people from getting taxed. But the local governments still want to get paid either estate taxes or property taxes. By forcing the real estate in to the probate courts, the government makes sure they get their fair share.

Your challenge is to find some deals in probate. You can see from the facts above that there can be a lot of motivation with people dealing with an estate in probate. By far, the easiest way to find the deals is to send some marketing to probate attorneys. There are better and faster ways, but my partner and I had to write a whole manual to explain those techniques. I simply can't fit them all here in this limited space. But if you know that most people will not try to probate an estate themselves and will seek out the services of an attorney to help them, then obviously you can short cut the whole process by sending letters or brochures to your local probate attorneys. In some states, you can even get pre-printed labels for probate attorneys from you state bar association. That way, half your work is already done. Now you just need to come up with a good letter to send them.

When you write your letters, simply tell the attorneys in a professional way what it is you do. Make yourself out to be an expert in the field. You might say something like 'I am a local real estate investor who specializes in solving probate related real estate problems.' Do you see how you just became a specialist there?

Now you know why you really need to be working the probate market, and you know a great shortcut to the market. All you need to do is go out and put it to work!!

Happy Investing!!

Brandon Lambert