Strategically maximizing the value of an estate

BridgePoint helps clients strategically maximize the value of an estate by leveraging an inheritance advance

Strategically maximizing the value of an estate

This article was produced in partnership with BridgePoint Financial.

Mallory Hendry of Canadian Lawyer sat down with Marie Haywood, Assessment Officer at BridgePoint, to discuss an increasingly popular option that helps executors and trustees and allows lawyers to bring extra value to the client relationship.

While maximizing the value of an estate has always been one of the more popular advance applications BridgePoint Financial receives, the skyrocketing real estate market that’s developed over the last few years has seen the request become increasingly popular. Even with bidding wars over properties in any condition, renovating an inherited house before resale ensures it sells for top dollar – but it can be difficult for executors or trustees of an estate to personally fund that work while awaiting probate.

One client took advantage of BridgePoint’s Inheritance Advance because a realtor said that the property would be worth around $800,000 if they made some updates, and that’s the price they listed it for once the renovations were complete. But the house ended up selling for $1.2M, creating a significantly larger inheritance for all the beneficiaries under that will and underscoring the advance as a timely and strategic tool.

“Many executors don’t have the financial means or don’t wish to overextend themselves to invest, and the Inheritance Advance is a perfect tool to cover off those types of expenses – yet many people don’t know this kind of service is out there and available to them,” says Marie Haywood, Assessment Officer at BridgePoint. “Lawyers bring extra value to the client relationship by suggesting this as a strategic way to maximize the value of an inherited home and referring their clients to us.”

The main feature of an advance is that it removes the immediate financial burden of anticipated – or unexpected – expenses that the executor or trustee of the estate takes on. In many cases the property is the main asset but has been owned by the deceased for years and while often lovingly maintained, does require some form of updating. Whether that’s renovating the kitchen, small repairs like fixing the roof, clearing out the property or even eventually staging it for sale, “we can assist to add value to the estate-held property, maximize the property value which is in their best interest and the executor can use our advance instead of obtaining personal loans or lines of credit in their own name,” Haywood says.

There’s also great benefit in obtaining the advance and making improvements immediately because that way the upgrades are complete by the time probate is received, enabling the executor or trustee to list the property right away. Making the resale process as quick as possible for the estate is another way to streamline the process, and the feedback from clients who have used an advance for this purpose has been positive, Haywood notes. She adds that on the other side of the equation, BridgePoint has also helped clients purchase a home without waiting for their inheritance so they pay the property value now and avoid even higher home prices later.

“Our clients not only require financial assistance but are usually grieving the loss of a loved one, so we make the process as seamless as possible to at least relieve any financial stress they might be under,” Haywood says.

Modern lawyers know clients have increasingly high standards for the services they’re receiving and highlighting BridgePoint products – which trustees and executors may be unaware of – as a way to maximize the value of their inherited estate adds further value to the relationship. They’re seen as a professional who is up to speed with trends, keeping pace with change and ultimately looking out for their clients’ best interests. 

“There’s a lot of value for executors and trustees, but there are many benefits to the lawyer as well,” Haywood says. “Our product is a huge added value component and can be part of a holistic service that lawyers who are current, are able to advise their clients about.”

Since 2002, BridgePoint Financial has been the pioneering force in developing Canada’s litigation finance market. As the only full service provider of innovative funding solutions for plaintiffs, lawyers and the experts involved in advancing legal claims, BridgePoint’s goal is to level the litigation playing field and to protect clients’ rights to full and fair access to justice.

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