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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Daughter sees updating late dad’s townhome as wise move but the probate administrator does not

Q: My father passed away without a will. My father’s older brother is an administrator. However, my dear will and testament uncle is frugal, beyond words. My father saved every penny and by the time he died he had amassed a decent amount of savings. Unfortunately, the administrator of the will, our uncle, sees no logic in renovating a 1974 townhouse to make it more competitive. Meanwhile, our father’s money safely yields single-digit interest. If we renovate the townhouse with funds in our father’s bank accounts, we can get a much higher price for the townhouse. This is now a unique opportunity to double, triple or quadruple your ROI in a short period of time.

The buying dad’s agent who worked decades ago was hired this time as the seller’s agent. She knows this townhouse and its homeowners association. The real estate agent told our uncle, the administrator, that the repairman with the death of the property is for sale at the lowest price. He disagrees with this due to news reports touting housing shortages and skyrocketing property prices. Ironically, our uncle believes that spending money on a mansion will ultimately mean less inheritance for me and my brothers. At the moment, my uncle won’t even let us invest our money in renovating the townhouse before it goes to market.

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How can we stop this financial indiscretion and keep the peace with our big big family? Can we contact the inheritance judge directly?

A: I cannot answer legal questions. However, you can consult with a real estate attorney or inheritance attorney. In my experience, High Court justices trust the probate or trustee more than the heirs of a will or trust. It is best to keep the peace in the family. This means never say a bad word about the probate administrator, the process or its results.

Now, since your thrifty uncle needs to see this in writing, not hear about it as theory, collect estimates to renew your father’s property by collecting Bay Area townhouse sales with identical floor plans, selling as updated rather than serviceable. If he still doesn’t see value, he is proving one of my theories throughout my career: frugality can be expensive.

Questions? Realtor Pat Kapovich is a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager and Consumer Advocate. 408-245-7700, [email protected] DRE # 00979413 SiliconValleyBroker.com YouTube.com/PatKapowich

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