FAQs

Downsizing

Appraisals: Do I need them?


In a word: Yes. If probate is required an appraisal will help protect you from government oversight that may find fault with how you value estate assets. For the cost of doing it right and sleeping easier, we would always suggest getting certified appraisals for the real estate and personal property owned by the deceased. If probate is not required, the risks are different.




I have a real estate opinion of value - is that sufficient?


There are places for real estate agents' opinions of value, but for probate we always suggest a certified appraisal. The purpose of an appraisal is to keep you the executor safe, to provide some insight into the marketplace at the time of probate, and to give you an arms length unbiased document so you can calculate the appropriate tax to pay on probate filing.




I have a friend/contact/relative in real estate. Why should I use Gordon’s instead of them?


The number one reason people hire a particular agent is that they have some social or family connection. The number one reason people hire Gordon’s is that we are the only company that actually does everything an executor needs to accomplish. The better question is why would you hire several people to accomplish what you can with just one company? More players means more confusion, more decisions, more conflicting advice, and more work and stress for you. Part of our work is to keep you healthy, and reducing stress is job one. A decision to hire Gordon’s saves a thousand other decisions. Let us show you how much easier we can make this difficult task.




How can you work all across Ontario? My agent friend says you need to know the local market to get the best price.


We agree that local agents are important - for the buyer. Over the past 40 years, we’ve honed a robust process that combines comprehensive local market data provided by local experts with a personal touch. You’ll find our uniquely qualified licensed brokers informative and relevant beyond your expectations. Our market results speak for themselves and at Gordon’s your listing agent is never the selling agent so you never have to wonder who is working for whom. And, the local agent you know may turn out to be the buyer agent!




What flow of events is best for estate settlement?


For many estates with both real estate and contents, a typical approach would be to get appraisals first and foremost, then apply for probate assuming probate is required. If there is no dispute regarding the named estate trustee and their authority, then allowing heirs who are bequeathed specific items to obtain them next, means the likelihood of anything going missing is reduced. Once that process is clear, often the contents would be dealt with including clearing, cleaning, shredding, waste disposal, and selling of saleable items. Sometimes real estate agents want to show the house with some or all the contents, exposing estate contents to the real estate traffic - which can create a number of other issues. Few houses require contents to generate a successful sale and having the contents out first simply keeps things less confusing. Finally, the sale of the property would often be the last detail of the physical assets to be liquidated. Concurrent to all of this would be some important paperwork issues such as meeting with the lawyer and accountant, probate filing above, tax filings (there are various pieces), perhaps executor insurance, bank accounts, investments, etc.




What’s the best way to sell estate contents?


This depends on what the contents consist of. For most general estates where the mandate is “liquidate and distribute funds”, we like an onsite online auction. The process minimises expenses compared to removing items to another location. It allows more items to attract a buyer, exposes items widely, operates quickly, is arms length, transparent and safe. By capturing some money for more things it also reduces the environmental impact by keeping things out of landfill. The number one online auction estate sale company in North America is MaxSold. If there are very high value or specialty items that require a global marketplace and a global brand auction house to maximise value there are several good options depending on the item and where you are located.




Is a true estate sale where buyers come to the house and negotiate price a good option?


This type of estate sale has a place and in some areas there are suppliers with large followings. My bias is that if you are acting as a fiduciary- as in an estate trustee role- an estate sale will rarely have the transparency or competitive, arms length market proof inherent in the online auction process.




Do I have to serve if I’m appointed executor?


In a word: no. You can renounce. You can also harness some resources to help out if you choose to take on the role. There are a range of helpful options from a Trust company acting as your “agent for executor”, to services such as ours which can collapse the whole physical asset envelope to specialty accountants, lawyers, and professional executor advisors. You can also have the estate purchase executor insurance if you’re feeling vulnerable. The right mix of supports may allow you to honour the task you have been designated for, while vastly reducing your workload, and still getting it done right.




Is a Trust Company a good option?


It can be. A trust company takes a professional and pragmatic approach to all they do. They have a variety of service options and can take on the whole executor role, share it, or act as agent for a named executor. They often have minimum estate value thresholds so some smaller estates may not be practical for a trust company but particularly if the estate has complexities a trust company may be the right option.





Estate Settling

Appraisals: Do I need them?


In a word: Yes. If probate is required an appraisal will help protect you from government oversight that may find fault with how you value estate assets. For the cost of doing it right and sleeping easier, we would always suggest getting certified appraisals for the real estate and personal property owned by the deceased. If probate is not required, the risks are different.




I have a real estate opinion of value - is that sufficient?


There are places for real estate agents' opinions of value, but for probate we always suggest a certified appraisal. The purpose of an appraisal is to keep you the executor safe, to provide some insight into the marketplace at the time of probate, and to give you an arms length unbiased document so you can calculate the appropriate tax to pay on probate filing.




I have a friend/contact/relative in real estate. Why should I use Gordon’s instead of them?


The number one reason people hire a particular agent is that they have some social or family connection. The number one reason people hire Gordon’s is that we are the only company that actually does everything an executor needs to accomplish. The better question is why would you hire several people to accomplish what you can with just one company? More players means more confusion, more decisions, more conflicting advice, and more work and stress for you. Part of our work is to keep you healthy, and reducing stress is job one. A decision to hire Gordon’s saves a thousand other decisions. Let us show you how much easier we can make this difficult task.




How can you work all across Ontario? My agent friend says you need to know the local market to get the best price.


We agree that local agents are important - for the buyer. Over the past 40 years, we’ve honed a robust process that combines comprehensive local market data provided by local experts with a personal touch. You’ll find our uniquely qualified licensed brokers informative and relevant beyond your expectations. Our market results speak for themselves and at Gordon’s your listing agent is never the selling agent so you never have to wonder who is working for whom. And, the local agent you know may turn out to be the buyer agent!




What flow of events is best for estate settlement?


For many estates with both real estate and contents, a typical approach would be to get appraisals first and foremost, then apply for probate assuming probate is required. If there is no dispute regarding the named estate trustee and their authority, then allowing heirs who are bequeathed specific items to obtain them next, means the likelihood of anything going missing is reduced. Once that process is clear, often the contents would be dealt with including clearing, cleaning, shredding, waste disposal, and selling of saleable items. Sometimes real estate agents want to show the house with some or all the contents, exposing estate contents to the real estate traffic - which can create a number of other issues. Few houses require contents to generate a successful sale and having the contents out first simply keeps things less confusing. Finally, the sale of the property would often be the last detail of the physical assets to be liquidated. Concurrent to all of this would be some important paperwork issues such as meeting with the lawyer and accountant, probate filing above, tax filings (there are various pieces), perhaps executor insurance, bank accounts, investments, etc.




What’s the best way to sell estate contents?


This depends on what the contents consist of. For most general estates where the mandate is “liquidate and distribute funds”, we like an onsite online auction. The process minimises expenses compared to removing items to another location. It allows more items to attract a buyer, exposes items widely, operates quickly, is arms length, transparent and safe. By capturing some money for more things it also reduces the environmental impact by keeping things out of landfill. The number one online auction estate sale company in North America is MaxSold. If there are very high value or specialty items that require a global marketplace and a global brand auction house to maximise value there are several good options depending on the item and where you are located.




Is a true estate sale where buyers come to the house and negotiate price a good option?


This type of estate sale has a place and in some areas there are suppliers with large followings. My bias is that if you are acting as a fiduciary- as in an estate trustee role- an estate sale will rarely have the transparency or competitive, arms length market proof inherent in the online auction process.




Do I have to serve if I’m appointed executor?


In a word: no. You can renounce. You can also harness some resources to help out if you choose to take on the role. There are a range of helpful options from a Trust company acting as your “agent for executor”, to services such as ours which can collapse the whole physical asset envelope to specialty accountants, lawyers, and professional executor advisors. You can also have the estate purchase executor insurance if you’re feeling vulnerable. The right mix of supports may allow you to honour the task you have been designated for, while vastly reducing your workload, and still getting it done right.




Is a Trust Company a good option?


It can be. A trust company takes a professional and pragmatic approach to all they do. They have a variety of service options and can take on the whole executor role, share it, or act as agent for a named executor. They often have minimum estate value thresholds so some smaller estates may not be practical for a trust company but particularly if the estate has complexities a trust company may be the right option.





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