Trust and Estate Solutions
first PROBATE Loans

Hi, I'm Jonathan Brooks, the principal of First Probate. First Probate is a real estate broker specializing in providing liquidity for estates providing services to trustees, administrators, executors, conservators and heirs.  I have provided these services to the Probate Community for more than twenty years.

As promised in my last newsletter, you will only receive email communications from me on a quarterly basis. The remaining newsletters this year are scheduled for August and November.  


If you have any comments simply hit REPLY and let me know.  If you have some information that you would like to communicate to the Probate Community, forward it to me for consideration. Lastly, if I haven't convinced you that my newsletter is worthwhile, just press "SafeUnsubscribe" below.


Here's hoping we continue to stay in touch and that we may be of service to you!


Very truly yours,

Jonathan Brooks  



             Title Reports: The Basics

Working with fiduciaries and their attorneys to borrow money on behalf of trusts and estates is no small matter, with complex probate, national and local real property finance lending laws. Understanding the intricacies of dealing with title companies and the three types of title reports are key to the process.


  • Property Profiles that a title company provides typically disclose property characteristics, current vesting, a tax report, sale comparables and the deeds of record (grant, quit and trust). Each property has three ways of identification, all of which appear in a complete property profile: common address, legal description and assessor's parcel number. However, it is important to not rely on a property profile as a guarantee or warranty that the title is as represented. This is crucial information for the fiduciary and their attorneys to understand before preparing a plan for a client.
  • Preliminary Title Reports will disclose any involuntary liens that have attached to title under the current, or prior, ownership. As with a property profile, a preliminary title report is not a guarantee, warranty or representation that the title is subject to the liens reported or that the report includes all the liens that might affect title to the property.
  • Title Insurance Policies are issued after completion of a transaction (and the deed/s have been recorded in the local county assessor's office). This policy is a guarantee, warranty or representation of the title vesting (subject to policy limitations), and that the title is subject to the liens reported - or that the policy includes all the liens that might affect title to the property. In limited situations, probate financing companies that specialize in challenging title issues may be able to proceed without a title policy. 
First Probate Loans manages the probate financing process for short-term loans to trusts and estates, post-property distribution loans, and distributions of trusts and estates. We specialize in resolving challenging and difficult problems related to title reports. We are happy to provide complimentary property profiles, recorded liens and last vesting deeds, upon request ( ).
Probate Referee Appraisals

The California Probate Referees' system, offering appraisals at modest fees paid by the estates, provides a convenient service for attorneys, professional fiduciaries and individuals alike.


Along with providing appraisals of trust assets for the purposes of estate taxes, gift distribution or determination of trustee fees, probate referees can appraise all non-cash assets located within the state, act as an independent in dispute situations, and perform appraisal services for trusts and estates where no court proceeding is involved.


While it can appear efficient and cost-advantageous to have just one professional providing an appraisal for all purposes, the reality is that a probate referee appraisal cannot be used for all purposes. Specifically, when a fiduciary is looking to borrow on behalf of trusts and estates, the probate referee appraisal is not valid - for two reasons:


  • The referee appraisal is a date-of-death appraisal, vs. a current appraisal that lenders require.
  • The referee appraisal format does not meet the requirements of the   California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers for lending.


Most lenders require an accurate portrayal of a property's current value for any loan, and particularly so if loan-to-value is greater than 33 percent.


A probate appraiser, as a licensed appraiser in California, can perform a current, stepped-up appraisal as well as a date-of-death appraisal. The key is to know the requirements for the different appraisals. When a fiduciary is seeking probate financing for short-term loans to trusts and estates, it is critical to work with a probate financing expert who can advise on specific appraisal requirements.

Have Questions?
We're happy to help answer any questions you have.

(818) 788-2308