How to get deals and listings from probate attorneys, even when other real estate agents are asking for referrals | Ask The Expert with Rilus Dana

How to get real estate leads from probate attorneys and estate planning attorneys: Referral networking

How to win referrals from probate attorneys and estate planning attorneys: What makes attorneys send deals and listings to real estate practitioners, and where the biggest opportunity to grow your referral pipeline is.

This episode breaks down exactly what makes probate attorneys send referrals to a real estate practitioner, even if they have other real estate agents and investors asking them for referrals

Estate Professionals Mastermind is thrilled to have Arizona probate and estate planning attorney Rilus Dana on for a real estate Ask The Expert episode! As the founder of, Rilus Dana knows what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to probate attorneys and real estate practitioners working together as vendor partners.


Get Certified in Probate Real Estate

Key Tips for Referral Networking with Probate Attorneys:

0:00 What type of realtors and real estate investors do probate attorneys want to work with?

2:32 How I became an estate planner and opened a law firm

4:13 What are the current issues affecting law firms and how are legal services changing to provide better service to probate clients?

12:07 How to get leads and listing referrals from probate attorneys

13:37 How to get estate planning referrals from your real estate client database or SOI

15:00 How to pitch comarketing and cobranding when prospecting probate attorneys for referrals

17:09 Get past the law office gatekeeper: Become the paralegal’s favorite real estate professional

18:52 Why I tell clients not to sign listing agreements with their Realtor friend

22:54 Creative finance and wholesaling probate leads: The Pace Morby probate offer strategy

26:08 How to explain lease with option to purchase to motivated sellers in probate

30:44 How to monetize every real estate conversation: Example creative finance script

36:18 Seller financing for probate real estate sales and estate planning (Plus, taking capital gain without depreciation recapture)

40:59 How to make estate planning attorneys and probate attorneys want to work with you


Resources for this Episode:

Show some love for Rilus Dana in the comments, just don’t ask him for free probate lead referrals!

Visit for links to all of Rilus’ different websites including where he practices law in Arizona, and his MAAT Legal website for continuing education and workshops for attorneys and real estate professionals working together.

Join our Facebook group, Estate Professionals Mastermind

Interested in growing your probate real estate business? Check out the Probate Mastery course

Related Content:

Prospecting probate attorneys for leads and real estate referrals

TRANSCRIPT: How to get probate attorneys and estate planning attorneys to send you deals & listings: Rilus Dana

How to get deals and listing referrals from probate attorneys: Real Estate Ask The Expert

What type of realtors/investors do probate attorneys want to work with? [00:00:00] 

Chad Corbett: Welcome everybody. My name is Chad Corbett founder of Probate Mastery Magnum Opus project, and the Estate Professionals Mastermind community. 

Today, I have another ask the expert guest. I’m super excited that we crossed paths. I can’t wait to have this conversation. We haven’t spoken much previous to this.

I want to introduce you guys to a probate and estate planning attorney out of Arizona, as well as an educator in the space. What’s exciting to me is we tend to, seem to have the shared vision of actually bridging the gap between the real estate community and the estate planning, legal community, and showing those people we can reach that the rising tide lifts all boats and by working together. Not seeing each other as competition, but as a complimenting skillset, we can all serve at a higher level, and ultimately we’re in business to make money so we can all be more profitable. So Rilus Dana, welcome to the show. 

Rilus Dana: Thanks for having me great to be here. I found a channel and I’m not sure how I found it.

I knew the YouTube algorithm served it up eventually. But it’s refreshing. There’s, there’s a lot of content out there, but as a probate attorney, sometimes I’m a little biased or a little bit different, but, but that, to say that you’re spot on so far everything that I’ve seen. 

I really like your approach, how you cater to the probate attorneys.

 As a probate attorney, I would say that your approach is perfect for probate attorneys. I like what you’re saying. 

Chad Corbett: Yeah. Well, thank you that that’s a huge compliment. I’ve worked hard to differentiate myself by approaching most of this in a very different way.

What I learned that allowed me to make this a fun and lucrative niche to do real estate in versus the drama and chaos of conventional real estate. I learned if you provide value first, whether it’s to the attorney, to the estate sale company, to the heirs, to the personal representative, if you lead with value and be empathetic to their situation, this business just comes to you like a magnet. 

My big vision is to blur that line between the legal community and the real estate community by showing them how reciprocal value can bridge the gap.

And ultimately the customer, the consumer will benefit the most, the families who are being helped will get the most benefit, but we’re all the law firms are going to be more profitable as is the real estate farm. So I’m excited to meet somebody else who’s a practitioner and a teacher in the space and actually, highlight you to the community.

You’ve posted a few videos in there and I appreciate that. If you guys want to engage, if you’re not a member already of Estate Professionals Mastermind the private Facebook community, that’s what brought us together. And then hopefully the space where we’ll, grow this into something beneficial to both industries.

How I became an estate planner and probate attorney [00:02:38] 

Chad Corbett: If you don’t mind please share with us, like what brought you into the legal field? When did you start as an estate planning and probate attorney, or did you go there on purpose?

Tell us a little bit about what brought you here today. 

Rilus Dana: I’m here on purpose and what brought me here is the mortality rate is a hundred percent. Right. So be it. So my dad was an estate planning attorney, I got to look at the business during college, I started working in his law firm and got a little taste of it.

And I enjoyed helping people. And then the fact that everyone dies and a lot of wealth is in that older generation is going to be shifting. So that’s when I decided that I would indeed get into this business.

Fast forward. I describe it, kind of the old school law firms fear-based they didn’t have to be good. The old attorneys, there’s a lot of them that they didn’t have to be a good probate attorney, but they could suck and still make a good living. Before the internet, before the internet kind of shifted and made information easily accessible.

 I studied business management in college. I knew that I wanted to go to law school, but I studied business management because I always knew that I wanted to run a business and I saw the struggles that my dad had running a law firm, you know, hiring people and all of that.

So after law school, I ended up purchasing some of the pieces of the firm from my dad, and then I went out on my own. So there’s been a lot of experiments basically with trying to run an effective estate planning and probate law. 

Chad Corbett: Now have you found that difficult to find mentors in that space?

Like someone who has, has blazed the trail that you respect that you’re like, Ooh, I want to be like that person. Or are you becoming that person because they don’t exist? You weren’t able to find them. 

Rilus Dana: Yeah. I would say both of those, 

What are the current issues affecting law firms and how are legal services changing? [00:04:19] 

Rilus Dana: Again, the legal profession is old school.

There are a lot of probate attorneys that think ”this works, so this is the way that we should do it. And they’re not concerned about changing and adapting. So yeah, I was a member of different attorney groups, but I found them just a little bit outdated. I found it that I was sharing more than I was getting.

It sounds bad, but it was great for my confidence as a young attorney was the best. Because this is only a few years in my career, it’s like, wait a minute. These guys are like twice my age, don’t have a clue. Like I already have more experience than this guy, cause I saw the questions they were asking.

It surprised me. So I was like, really, like you’ve never done that. Like wants you to do this or why don’t you do that? Or so yeah, there’s not a good at least that I, that I enjoy and, and it’s funny. So yeah, I am trying to create that network. For probate attorneys, you just, by doing more videos.

And what’s funny is I invite different attorneys. I have got a list of attorneys in Arizona or just different probate attorneys. And I get responses just like from other probate attorneys that I’ve had cases against that. Just tell me to remove the name from the list. It’s like, bro, I’m just trying to go to lunch with you.

Like, like I’m just inviting you to something, but estate planning and probate attorneys are a weird bunch. It’s just hard to get them together. It’s hard to communicate with them. And so 

Chad Corbett: Pro-tip, if you want to learn to communicate with any attorney really go into traditional psychology and study the ego ID and the superego.

And if you understand how that triad works and how it affects behavior, like what that self-talk inside of somebody, what’s going on inside their head. It’s a lot easier to appeal to them like this. But like sometimes when you get those very ego-driven attorneys, it’s none of the 10 people will strike out or get the door slammed in their face.

And a lot of times it’s. That provide value first comes in many different flavors, right? The value maybe like appealing to their ego, giving them a chance to talk about themselves and their farm. And then they’re, they, they’re your best friend in the world. Some are impossible. I’ve met probate attorneys that I just couldn’t tolerate, but most, you can find the way in there.

So yeah, it’s, it’s a diverse group of people. Ego plays a pretty big role in the law field I’ve found. 

Rilus Dana: Yeah. One of my old assistants described attorneys as simultaneously lazy and control freaks. Yeah. So it’s like that, that can be the challenge. Like there’s this attorney’s gonna be nervous too.

Cause like, we always got to think about what the bad things that can happen and all of that. So that’s how we’re wired. 

Chad Corbett: Yeah. You guys have just drawn a comparison to the real estate. We have some liability to be concerned about. You guys have way more oversight and regulation and liability that comes with that.

One of the examples that come to mind is, you’re not allowed to direct the market. Directly solicit the way that we can. And that’s where one of those provides value first entry points to build a meaningful relationship with an attorney is why don’t you let them, be part of as a real estate professional, they’re allowed to be part of your community.

They’re allowed to have their name and yours. They’re not sending a direct sex solicitation. They might get an endorsement from you in a letter, and that doesn’t violate the law and they can grow their farm and build their brand through a collaboration with a real estate professional. And it’s frustrating to me.

It’s not very. Because the approach that we teach in probate mastery for how, how a real estate practitioner should approach a law practice is to make sure you come in with something of value. You don’t come in with your hand out asking for something cold, on a cold introduction. But when you do that, like really focusing on the same empathetic approach that you had used with a personal representative, if, when you’re prospecting to the family, use that for the attorney.

Keep in mind. They are a small business owner. They have the same struggles that we do even more. And, and, and in this instance, like, think about it, you’re allowed to do almost whatever you want marketing for real estate. Imagine if you weren’t allowed to direct market, No direct mail campaign and no cold calling, direct cold calling list.

So there are things that we can do that, that is pretty simple for us and very inexpensive but make a very big impact for, for the legal partner on, on your team. And when you do that, you’re earning the trust by helping that small business owner scale through their problems and, and, and grow their business and meet their goals.

And, our goal is to, for attorneys and real estate agents, let’s, let’s figure out a way that you can work less. Good. So with that, I want to segue into your perception and I’m putting routers on the spot. Guys. We, I didn’t tell him I was going to ask this, but curious to hear your honest perception of the real estate industry as a whole, and maybe even some stories, like how often do you get approached by real estate agents or brokers, and how often do they have anything valuable to offer versus just come in, asking or expecting.

Rilus Dana: Yeah. So the real estate as a whole, I’ll probably get in trouble for this. I already, I got ’em. I got an answer for the bar, from a realtor that complained about something else, but I, 

Chad Corbett: you only get complaints here. So core value number 10 candor is a virtue. 

Rilus Dana: Yeah. If you don’t like what I say, like, sit in the comments, don’t just call the bar and tell on me.

But I, I feel like the realtors have a stranglehold on it and that’s, that’s, that’s gonna, it’s not going to last forever with technology and other things, cause, cause as an attorney, I’ve seen this happen, w w with legal zoom and those things, where they, where they fought against it.

But I feel like there’s a real powerful lobby. You’re trying to keep part of that existence. W what the realtors. Well, we talked earlier. Some realtors can be great. They can provide value and be a great part of the team, but just like lawyers, right. Lawyers are, they’re not all, they’re not all great.

So there’s, there are different levels of them, but a good real estate professional can help solve problems. You know, a good real estate professional is just someone that solves problems. Your tools are just a little bit different than my legal tools of doing probate.

Chad Corbett: When you have the right team, I have about 24 core team members, so you can offer a vertically integrated solution. Now, the attorney is one of those and we use a metaphor of a wheel.

The CPE is the center of the wheel. And then each of those other members is a spoke, but collectively they make up one valuable piece. So part of that is, is getting the right team together. 

What estate planning and probate attorneys want in a real estate referral partner [00:10:44] 

Chad Corbett: And if you meet a real estate professional, Who has that vertically integrated team that you’re a member of, they can liquidate assets. They can provide a level of customer service that’s at or above yours. They act with integrity. They consider themselves fiduciary, even if they’re not. 

But they can bring in, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and get all the needs met of the family.

So they arrange for an estate sale. They liquidate personal property. They take the cash from the personal property, raise the equity level and the real property by doing a renovation, create a bridge loan by letting the contractor carry an invoice, then they, they close it up. 

The right real estate professional, I feel like it, is, a godsend to the law firm because they can add value at every single step of the process. It pulls redundancy off of your office staff. There are no constant emails and phone calls and like trying to figure out cause the realtor has proactively educated them on what to expect, set a proper expectation, and delivered as they said they would. And each of the other team members too. 

I’ve had thousands of people go through the class and I hope that’s making a difference already.

I mean, We see it in our communities, but I hope the people that don’t aren’t on weekly calls or any probate attorneys are listening to this, like, holy crap, I got one of those cause we’ve got several thousand CPEs (Certified Probate Expert) throughout the country now. And my goal is to reach as many as I can. And I want to include more probate and estate planning attorneys in this Estate Professionals Mastermind community and this conversation cause I believe that the quicker we can, join forces and approach this consumer-focused service, the better the situation will get. 

How to get referrals for deals and listings from probate attorneys [00:12:13] 

Chad Corbett: That wave of baby boomers coming into the end-of-life phase. There’s tons of opportunity there, opportunity to serve at a higher level than you ever have an opportunity to monetize that at a higher level than you ever have.

Most people who are early into this community, if they’ve been trying this for a while, they’ll come in and their tails between their legs, they’re apprehensive to even visit an estate planning attorney or call a probate attorney because they’ve gone in with a selfish one-sided offer, got the door, slammed in their face.

And for good reason, they were just going and asking a stranger for referrals without offering a benefit and something that you, I want, I’d like to hear from me. 

Like how often does that happen to you? Cause you. Your MSA. Do you get solicitation, from real estate professionals, investors, brokers, and how often?

Rilus Dana: All the time? I would say probably four to five a week. 

Chad Corbett: Call, a letter, a visit? 

Rilus Dana: Probably all these, a lot of them, they don’t, they don’t get through to me Now my team started saving them because they know that I’m like a real estate investor too. So they’ve saved them as examples. They’ll set some aside. But yeah, if you count all the places as you know, my law firm website social media, all the places four to five a week, probably now the people that I work with is, when I’ve talked to other real estate professionals, 

I say there’s one guaranteed way into the attorney’s office.

And what is that? 

Chad Corbett: Bring them a living trust referral. 

Rilus Dana: There you go. Hire them for what they’re doing. Right. You know, They’re, they’re really simple people. So just look and see exactly what they’re in business for and bring them that type of client. 

How to get estate planning referrals from your real estate client database or SOI [00:13:43] 

Chad Corbett: And there are two main kinds of tactics that I’ve, that I teach that I’ve found that worked well.

You go through your past client database, the sphere of influence marketing, wealthy friends, country club, whatever that is. Find that 95% of Americans do not have a living trust. And the majority of those, if they’re on the upper-income scale, their estate will be probated. I find those people in your sphere that, that don’t have a proper estate plan in place and say, listen, I just got through goal-setting for 2022:

I want to serve at a higher level this year. So part of that is making sure that all the people that have trusted me in the past to be their real estate professional, their fiduciary. One thing I didn’t do, I’m retroactively doing this, is making sure that they have a proper estate plan in place because I’ve started to specialize in probate.

And I realized the most valuable service and probate is to make sure your family never goes through that. So could I give you an hour to sit down with my friend, my friend, and my estate planning attorney Rilus Dana? Like if they’re a high-net-worth individual, they’re foolish to say no to that.

Then I go, I come through Rilus’ front door and I say, Hey, yeah, we don’t know each other yet, but we’ve got a fun relationship ahead of us. Let’s start with this. This is one of my best friends. This is somebody I dearly trust. I’ve looked into your office. I like what you’re doing.

Could you please provide them with the level of service that I expect that they got from me? What attorney isn’t going to respect that? 

Rilus Dana: Perfect. That’s, that’s exactly what we want as a business. 

Yeah, that’s exactly what we’re trying to bring in. 

How to pitch comarketing and cobranding when prospecting attorneys for referrals [00:15:06] 

Chad Corbett: If people are too intimidated to take action on that, a little less threatening way that I’ve found that works well is to approach the attorneys with that marketing collaboration offer. It’s: We serve families and probate. We’ve got a vertically integrated team of people that help with literally anything the family could be going through. We’re looking for the right attorneys to partner with that we can feature in our marketing pieces and endorse you as, as a professional that meets the standard that our team demands.

Would you be able to sit down for just a few minutes for a quick brainstorm and we can see where you might fit into our marketing plan? What’d you say no to that? 

Rilus Dana: I’d say send it. My people, I’ll consider it. I don’t have time for a sit-down, but I would love to do some marketing together.

Chad Corbett: Even if you didn’t make the appointment, I would have your marketing director or whomever. It was, I would sit down. I would deliver on what I promised you. You would be in a letter or we would make a postcard, or we would do a collaborative podcast or blog posts. I would invite you to my Facebook community where people in this situation could ask you questions directly. And over the next week or two, you will know who the hell I was. And you would know that I was playing at a different level. And so those are just two ways that I’ve found that are relatively easy to teach. It’s not as easy to get people to take action.

And I prefer to do it in person. I think that direct mail and phone calls to probate attorneys can work sometimes. 

But I’ve found that it’s far better reception if you dare to walk in and look someone in the eye with confidence and explain your offer and your value, and then give something. But don’t ask on that trip. And I was on average, I would say if I challenge a hundred people to go talk to three probate attorneys, On average, they’ll come back with two solid relationships.

The rejection, the fear of rejection is kind of unfounded because not many attorneys have been approached with a valuable offer. So they’re kind of like, it gets them out of that default mode network. And they’re like, whoa, this is a different conversation. 

Rilus Dana: Yeah. 

Chad Corbett: And it’s usually a really warm reception that ends up in an hour or two long conversation.

And I love getting those calls when people call back, they’re like, you’re not going to believe what happened. Like I was in his office all afternoon. Like we had to order in lunch cause he just kept asking me questions and people were just lit up and I’m like, see, that’s what providing value upfront can earn you.

Get past the gate keeper at probate attorneys offices (and become their favorite real estate professional!) [00:17:15] 

Rilus Dana: That’s great. Another twist to that. Look for their paralegals. I agree. Walking to the office is so powerful, and if you have like a plate of cookies or some sugar to something nice, so they’re happy to see you, right. Hey, who is this? We like this person. 

Chad Corbett: I coached a girl Uh, she was a licensed ISA. She wasn’t even the listing agent, but out of Richmond, Virginia, they were one of the top teams there. And she, there was a little Italian bakery down the road and we were brainstorming and I was like, go get Christmas cookies and do your attorneys visit 10 for 10.

Like she went and bought 10 things of cookies, visited 10 probate attorneys offices, and she’s gotten deals from all 10 of them. And all she did, she focused on the staff, not on the attorney and she just loved on them, gave them cookies. She would drop by each season. So she would go at Christmas. She would go at Easter.

She would go on Valentine’s day. She would just drop in and renew that. And just let them know that she was operating at a different level. She was differentiating herself and providing value to the staff, which ultimately breaks down the gatekeeper.

And they’re like, oh, Rilus is going to love you. Let me just put you on his calendar. 

Rilus Dana: Exactly. Exactly. So the probate attorneys get too much attention, but their staff doesn’t get enough. You’ll compliment the paralegal. We know you’re doing all the work anyway, you’re, you’re the one we want to see, and let them know here’s how we help paralegals.

So what I’ve told my other friends, like in, in the community where they’ll mention my name to other probate attorneys. I warn them. I’d be careful for better, for worse. They may not be my fan, but let them know ways that they’ve helped my clients and reasons that my paralegals like them.

Yeah, they’ll meet people at properties. They’ll deal with personal property. organize estate sales, all that stuff that makes me look good. And it doesn’t take my time and I’m not paying for someone on my team to do it. 

What attorneys tell clients who say they want to list with their Realtor friend [00:18:57] 

Rilus Dana: I’ve been asking my attorney, friends, you know, like what they do in this situation.

Yeah, when there is real estate and a lot of times maybe they have a relationship or they don’t, they just leave it up to their clients. Now, whenever I get a lead from my law firm when we get someone that calls us, I always ask. And so is my paralegal. They ask if they have a realtor yet. and 80% of the time one is already there.

 They have already talked to a realtor or they’re already aware of at least one or two, and I say, don’t hire anyone yet. You don’t sign a listing agreement yet because I always like to explore the wholesale offer before they’re tied up with the listing agreement, where especially if the property needs work, there are five kids, only one house.

What I caution against realtors is, is they could have some realtor promise them this high price that they can get, sign a listing agreement, but if the market doesn’t actually deliver that price and then sell it for a lower you’re still locked into that listing agreement.

Chad Corbett: I did a deal where I was just shocked at what came out of me. Like I laid four options on the table. She chose a lease with the option to purchase and she needed the maximum price and she needed it right right now. And I was able to check both of those boxes by using creative financing. But after that, that’s when I started to look and I’m like how many people are in this situation each month? And I went and educated myself on probate. 

Rilus Dana: I love creative finance. I like working with real estate professionals that have more solutions. So as an attorney, you know how I look for real estate professionals that’s one I’m looking for, how many options does this person have?

Right. Do they only have one hammer so everything looks like a nail to them or did they get a whole toolbox where they can, look and see what this person needs? 

also if they don’t have it in their toolbox, so the type of person that’s going to say, this is what you need. You need this over here.

Not me. 

Chad Corbett: The first year I started in the Virginia market, I backtested through MLS records and 77% of estate listings had expired because of exactly what you said, real estate agents, I won’t even say professionals, but people with licenses, were putting them into listing contracts, not cleaning the house out, overpricing it, the car mirror was in an iPhone three photo from the road.

They didn’t even get out of the car. 

There was no lockbox on it showing by appointment only.

Like nobody was going to that house. Most people around here would list for a minimum of six months. The majority I’d say the majority is 12. So you’ve got 12 months of the most valuable asset in the estate being tied up, incurring expenses, getting in worse condition, more deferred maintenance.

And to me. as someone who signed a piece of paper and said, I am your fiduciary, I think there should be accountability for that. That’s not a very popular opinion among my peers in real estate, but if you’re out there hanging paper and taking listings grossly overpriced, they’re not going to sell, to me that’s just weak salesmanship. You, you don’t have the courage or the strength to tell this person the truth and show them the real market value. If you were a fiduciary, you would do that because that’s your fiduciary duty. Right? And a lot of people scowl at me when I share that, that, that opinion.

I’m pretty, pretty deep-seated in that because I’ve seen the impact of the family. I’ve had the tears on, my shoulder when I came to clean up the damn mess. And that first deal was one of those. So picking the right real estate professional is very important for attorneys.

Because if you get one of them, oh yeah, I’ll do it. Yeah. Oh yeah. I’ll drop my listing commission to 1% we’ll list it for 1,000,005. Across the street sold for 300, but it’s probably worth 1,000,005, and then just sit there and wait. 

 Three-quarters of the listings in this particular market and many markets are expiring because they’re being overpriced and under-marketed and underserved. And there’s just no sense in it. There’s, there’s, there’s a better way. 

Rilus Dana: I think a lot of these attorneys, I have a friend who’s a fiduciary as a fiduciary business to courts and companies will appoint him.

But he had a listing in that situation. It’s about to expire. And I was like, dude, there are other options. If it’s not selling on the MLS, you should look at a wholesale cash offer. And I, I had to describe what a wholesale transaction was to him.

Fiduciary duty and wholesaling probates: The Pace Morby probate offer strategy [00:22:59] 

Rilus Dana: You know, let them know he has other options for things like that. So now something that I talked about, some on my channel and the other attorneys is how do you balance that fiduciary duty, with the wholesale offer price? Right? I’m licensed in California too, although I don’t do probates over there.

I did this more estate planning, their probates are way more of a pain because one of the things that the pain is you have to get a referee and an appraisal every time. And then the judge, you got to explain why you didn’t sell for that price or, or what it is. Arizona, they don’t care. It’s just that fiduciary duty, right?

Once we get someone appointed for the estate, we’re not required to get an appraisal on the house. So usually if they’re selling it that the best appraisal is what someone’s willing to pay. But if you don’t list it on the market, I learned this creative finance tip from my friend Pace Morby.

So now he’s on a TV show as the create a finance guy. But I saw he was doing this with my probate clients, he made an offer to buy the probate property. And he would offer to pay a thousand dollars higher than any other offers.

And then he had a nice 10,000 earnest deposit. So in that case, one of the siblings was represented by an attorney.

He had a friend that wanted to make an offer. And one of the other kids also had a friend that was a real estate investor. So we got all their offers and we took it back and Pace was willing to beat it. But I, I see it work all ways where yeah, they’re willing to beat it. And if so that’s our highest offer.

And, we had the fiduciary duty to take the highest offer. I had that other attorney yelling at me why he didn’t take his friend’s deal. And it’s like, you just described that I’m doing a good job for my client as a fiduciary. We, we got the highest offer, so you’re welcome. 

I feel like the real estate world is getting more creative and more open-minded and people are seeing that there’s not just everything is just listed on the MLS.

Chad Corbett: One, one student in one story at a time. It’s just how it is like I challenged myself shortly after I did that first probate deal. I shocked myself. So I gave her four options and I didn’t plan this. I was selfishly going there to buy that house because it was in the neighborhood I had, I had moved from Maui to Virginia.

And like I’m like, yes, got my house. I’ve only been here two months. When I looked her in the eye, it all changed though. I’m like, man, this isn’t about me. And about this house for me, like this is about her. She was devastated.

So walked through the house, saw valuable antique furniture. Felt her out, realized that she needed as much equity as possible and as fast as possible. So a fast cash offer on probate property at 70 cents on the dollar wasn’t going to work. I threw it out there to create a new one, I was going to get the flinch. And when I did, she’s like, oh no, we can’t.

And I’m like, all right. Perfect. So now I’ve got a contrasting point, right? I’ve got an anchor to make the other three options look really good. And at the time the options are just rolling out. I’m like, blah, blah. But what we can do, we can sell it as is, whereas on the MLS, no contingencies, I would expect we can have it ratified within a week and probably close within 30 days.

Option three is we sell it conventionally. But first, we empty the personal property. We liquidate that we use that money to do a cosmetic rehab. We stage the home, we get press professional photography, and we go back out to market at a retail price. So maximizing your equity is probably going to take 45 to 60 days.

And she, you could see it was sounding better, but she still had apprehension. 

How to explain lease with option to purchase to motivated sellers in probate [00:26:14] 

Chad Corbett: And I was like, but there’s one more thing. And this is complicated, feel free to ask as many questions as you need. I’ll try to simplify it. 

I have a list of aspiring buyers who can’t qualify for financing right now.

They’ve already been pre-vetted, we’ve been criminal credit background, sex offender checks. They have filled out a full mortgage application. We know exactly why they were denied. We’ve got them in credit coaching. What I would like to do is list the house at the absolute top retail price. No contingencies, inspections are welcome, but it’s still an as-is-where-is sale clear contingency and on the front.

And we’re going to do this with a lease with the option to purchase real estate (lease options). We’ll take an $8,000 deposit, 1100 1st month, 1100 last month. And we’ll close it within days. And she was like, oh my God, let’s do that. That’s amazing. Really, she didn’t even have questions like the lease option done properly is not the simplest paperwork.

At the time, Dodd-Frank was still a very touchy area with creative financing. It has since loosened up, but I was just shocked that the most complex. The tactic was the one that she was most attracted to. And because I was focused on her needs, she wanted the most money she could get as fast as she could get it.

And that was the one that, you know, met all of her needs. I’ve tried to teach this. After that I went home, I had a glass of Cabernet and I’m like, what did I just do? And how can I replicate that? And I looked at all these junk probate leads in my database that I had been meeting with for two or three months and coming up short making offers, they would flinch.

I would try to refer it to a realtor or list it. Myself, always broke rapport. And what came out of that really? That was, that deal changed the whole course of my career. And it taught me I was a teacher eventually, but I quit being Chad, the investor and I quit being Chad, the realtor that day. And I just started to be Chad and I would always be on almost every single appointment I’ve been on since I’ve offered no less than two options.

Yeah, as I’ll, I’ll list it or I’ll buy it, but usually, it’s more options than that. Like we can, we can help you transition this to a rental property. We can help get one of your family members qualified so they actually can purchase the home from the estate. We can help you, turn it into a short-term rental.

We can partner with you, we’ll do a land trust we’ll joint venture. We’ll establish a cost basis for the asset. We’ll bring the construction crews, the capital we’ll take all the risks at the end, we split it 50, 50 net, and I get paid a commission on top of that for being a listing agent. We lay all these options out that they’ve never heard of.

Rilus Dana: I would say, If you were referred by an attorney, do you think they would like that attorney. Right. So that’s the type of professionals that I look for, because look at those options. Right. But look at what you gave that, like, do any other, how many other people are going to offer that many options?

Chad Corbett: Very few. And if I had it my way, everyone who has a CPE designation would do that, but unfortunately, I think a lot of people are intimidated. It takes critical thinking skills and, and you’ve got to have a good relationship with a real estate attorney that can watch your assets for you and make sure you’ve got the proper contracts.

 Don’t be intimidated guys, if you’re inspired by this, by this idea about this conversation. Please go toward that. Like we teach and in session two of probate mastery, I teach like the full spectrum of everything you can do to help a family ranging from things that are just like getting a social worker to help a surviving family member find suitable housing.

And in a short time, It’s something you’re going to have to do eventually if you haven’t already. It’s the failure to launch kid, who’s 50 years old plays X-Box and smokes every day and he’s not going anywhere unless you better his situation. So there are things like that. Like we teach you how to do.

That just pure service that you’re unlikely to monetize to making seven-figure paydays by partnering with the estate on a piece of ag land subdividing, doing the carbon gutter, and then, and then sell it off to a builder, innovation homes, or whoever it might be, or individual lots. And I, I’ve coached people who have taken up 150 200,000 hayfields and turned it into a $2 million disposition. 

The family made a million extra bucks just because he followed that.  He was a student and then I ran into him at a campfire in Tennessee on a dirt bike. We were riding dirt bikes.

And we started talking and I’m like, you can do this. He’s like, I’m going to go do that. So he would do about two deals a year with family to inherited farmland. He’d make a couple million, they would make a couple of million extra. So there’s so much you can do to help these people. If you’re willing to think outside of the box and lead with a servant’s heart, looking at yourself as a fiduciary put their best interests, first, provide options for them, and then you don’t have to sell a damn thing.

How to monetize every real estate conversation [00:30:50] 

Chad Corbett: You give them a choice. They choose how they’re going to work with you. They choose how you’re going to monetize the conversation. But what’s important to my goal was the challenge that I asked you to myself was how do I monetize every real estate conversation? I’ve got a mind map of what that looks like, the logic of it, where you actually, you’re saying is the real estate yes or no.

And depending on how that branches, is there a motivation to sell yes or no? 

Rilus Dana: So as an attorney, I’m interested to see if by similar what I go through, I talk to prospects, but I started using real estate as a different lead source because a lot of times that’s the main source of the problem. And that’s going to be the answer to what we do in the probate, it’s going to be determined by what they want to do with the real estate. 

Chad Corbett: So while we’re here, this is a graphic. So what we teach in the course, one of the things, you’ve got your internal team, whoever does prospecting appointments, listing transactions but then it blows up.

This is your vendor team. And probate attorneys are one of those people, an estate planning attorney and a probate attorney. This is what a typical team would look like for a certified probate expert. This is a truly vertically integrated solution.

They can provide dozens and dozens of options to these probate sellers. So it’s pretty hard to compete with that. Yeah, this is how my brain works. On the left here, you’ve got all the different lead types that I’ve used this for. The approach doesn’t change much. The conversation changes, but the L the line of logic doesn’t start with is real estate. Yes or no. If not, then who is a referral partner that can help a tenant. Maybe it’s somebody who owns a self-storage facility, a cleaning company, a pressure washing company, a handyman, somebody, everybody can use help from somebody. Right. And this is the idea of monetizing every conversation, but more likely, yes, there’s real estate.

Is there a motivation to sell? If not, most people will be like, okay, Junk lead, but if there’s no motivation to sell, is there debt? And if yes payments are current, yes. Get it through your sphere of influence. Maybe they can refinance into a lower rate. Maybe they can invest in Bitcoin by accessing the home equity through a home equity line of credit. 

They need a living trust, don’t they Rilus? 

They need to sit down with a registered investment advisor and understand infinite banking and how they don’t need to worry about loan approval. 

They can buy a whole life policy and loan themselves money and pay down debt twice as fast.

They need an insurance broker. We all do. So even when you, when, when most real estate professionals think they’ve hit a dead-end, there’s still one more question to ask them, one more like if you can continue to provide value. 

There’s debt, payments aren’t current, and we’ve got no equity. Then we’ve got the opportunity for a loan mod or referral to a bankruptcy attorney, or you can buy the property from them and lease it back to them if you’re a risk-tolerant investor. But that’s the no side, the more common part of the conversation is the real estate,

yes. And then we look at the debt. Real estate with no debt: this gives us some pretty simple strategies, right? 

If they want to be out of this in less than 30 days, it’s a cash offer. Wholesale price. 

If they’ve got 60 to 90, we can go conventional listing and get them more equity. If they’re unrealistic on price or they just have to get to a certain net figure then we can do this using creative financing. 

We can maximize that price by not paying fees, not negotiating with the buyers, not doing repairs. A mortgage and interest-free mortgage owner finance contract or deed lease with the option to purchase. 

If there’s debt are the payments current yes or no, we basically ended up at the same thing. I’ll spare you guys going through every branch. But what we’re looking at is this is the logical framework that my brain is using when I’m having an emotional conversation. So I’m not saying are your payments current, do you want to move? I get it. Don’t do that. That’s why I don’t offer scripts with this.  It’s the art of having an emotional conversation following this logical track, but you can see, as I extrapolate this out, there’s no situation where I get to a dead end and go. I don’t know what to do or I can’t help you.

And that’s what I challenge everybody that takes my courses and follows my approach. I want to teach everybody how to do this because it provides so much more value to the families. Everybody makes more money. The family makes more money. The attorney makes more money than the real estate agent or broker makes more money.

And it’s just more fun when you’re using creative solutions. Even for your audience listening to this, if you have a legal practice and you’re looking to connect with these type of people, we’ve had over 4,000 people certified through this course that have learned from that, teaching. And it’s like, it is a much different experience working with the someone, a real estate professional that thinks outside of the box.

They can be a transaction engineer on their feet and they can do dozens of offer dozens of different solutions to everyone they talk to. 

Rilus Dana: My friend Pace Morby has helped people with creative financing solutions. So there are a lot of people that love me because of Pace. 

Chad Corbett: I haven’t met pace yet. You should probably introduce us. I’ve had several people be like, do you know that guy? You guys really need to know each other. And Chris Prefontaine is a friend of mine. He’s also incredibly good, as a teacher in the creative financing space. What those guys are teaching and what we just looked at.

We’re talking about a 90% growth in your transaction volume because no lead is a junk lead. If you get a conversation, you can help that person and monetize that conversation. So I would love, we need to have panel discussion with me Pace and Chris Prefontaine, Joe McCall would be a good addition to that, too.

Seller financing for probate real estate sales and tax-advantaged estate planning [00:36:23] 

Rilus Dana: Yeah, that’d be great. There are different opportunities. Like one, one I’m thinking of is I had some clients, they didn’t think they could requalify. They didn’t have any credit and they had to sell the house that they were in because there are multiple beneficiaries. So he was able to find them like a seller finance deal to buy.

That’s like one that comes to mind and they’re like, hugging me, like, oh my gosh, I’ve never thought we would be able to buy a house again. 

Chad Corbett: Yeah. Like, depending on the situation, like the option there, like, well, how would you guys like to buy a home and just pay a private mortgage and not have to pay for appraisals and PMI and all that?

Well, that sounds great, but we can’t qualify. Well, that’s up to me. I’m the lender so I can buy this house from the estate and lease it back to you. And I pocket all that, or I can buy this house and then sell it to you. Or if you really don’t like this house, I’ll take one of the other houses I’ve already bought, or I’ll go find the house and I’ll buy it.

I’ll become your lender. And over time you can buy me back or you can refinance me out. 

Rilus Dana: I’m trying to spread the word about seller financing to my my client base. So I, I have a pretty big list of legal clients for who we’ve done estate planning. And the scenario that I’ve now seen a few times is they have a couple of rental properties that are low basis.

So they depreciated it to zero. They’re sick of being landlords. But they don’t, they don’t want to take the tax it, if they sell, they don’t want to pay all the capital gains and then they don’t know where to reinvest the money. I think a seller finance is a perfect situation. It is. 

Chad Corbett: And you’re an attorney.

You probably have thought of this. If they’re held in an LLC, you can actually acquire the LLC and not transfer a title and trigger a taxable, taxable event. So they can actually, the LLC holds title to the real estate. It’s a business transaction, not a real estate transaction, and they can take it to the capital gain without the depreciation recapture.

Rilus Dana: That’s good to know. There’s ways around that depreciation recapture, because that can be tough for people that are recaptured depreciation. 

Chad Corbett: Yeah, it’s just, it’s, it’s a deferral game. It’s coming back at you and most of the asset class. 

Rilus Dana: I had an estate planning client come see me, that I’m actually going to pitch seller financing to after thinking about a situation for awhile, but he has nine properties in Arizona.

He was wanting to give to his grandkids and he wanted to have his grandkids run them. And I’m like, that’s a nightmare. That, that is a nightmare having multiple. And it’s like this, this is great. What you’ve built. And he also had in your infinite banking and he was trying to force that upon his grandkids.

This is a great scenario, but you know I think this guy might’ve been an engineer by trade too. Sometimes they’re kind of over-analytical and his poor wife wasn’t on board with that. Right. She was trying to simplify it too because I was showing him like my best-case scenario if it works, how you want, you’re talking about four different trustees that are going to manage this and manage a business.

Their fees are not going to be small, even if it goes perfectly. I was thinking about it more and I’m going to call them back and be like, if the result you’re trying to achieve is, they’re not be able to sell the properties and not have a lump sum of cash. And you want to guarantee an income stream?

I think a seller finance situation could be a perfect option. You’ll help sell his portfolio and just hold the notes in his trust. And his grandkids inherit those notes that entitled them to the payments. 

Chad Corbett: Good strategy. 

Rilus Dana: Yeah, I, I want, I want more people to become aware of this because a lot of times they they only know what the realtor says and the banker says, and they say, you can’t do that!

Chad Corbett: Yeah, “I’ve never heard of that, therefore it must be illegal!” I find it very easy to explain to the families because what you’re saying is so different.

They, they trust you. Like, they’re like, wow, this guy knows what he’s talking about. I think I trust him and they typically don’t have that many questions. I make it a point to always structure creative financing deals and the presence of an attorney. So if they have questions, I’m not put in a position where I could be perceived as practicing law. I just go sit at a conference table, my real estate attorney is happy to sit there. Usually he doesn’t have to answer any questions. 

But I find the most difficult thing about creative financing is cooperating with other brokers, agents, or brokers. And they’re just determined that it must be illegal because their broker didn’t teach them that, or it wasn’t in the real estate school handbook.

I should have learned everything in those 60 hours of education. And it’s frustrating to me. I had to interview probably 12 brokers before one would allow me to hang my license and my license has been hanging there for 12 years without a single thing. Like I’ve run my business with integrity.

It’s important to me, but there are so few people who will venture into the creative financing space because someone has convinced them that little voice in their head, their broker, their, whoever it might be. They’ve been convinced that it’s a shyster game and it’s illegal. And then you’re just, it’s just a matter of time until you get to go to prison for doing owner financing deal.

It couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Make estate planning and probate attorneys want to send all their real estate referrals to you [00:41:05] 

Chad Corbett: Like. The practitioners. And I know people like Pace Morby, Jim Krautkramer out of Charlotte, and Chris Prefontaine, and Joe McCall. These are all guys that, that are teaching these different, different strategies within that space, but they’ve been doing it for decades and they’ve never been pinched.

 Like they, they do it with integrity. They put service first. And, they make absurd amounts of money, but they earned that like they educated themselves and provided real value. So if you guys find this conversation interesting, I challenge you and encourage you to learn at least one creative financing tactic each quarter this year.

So if you don’t know how to do a wrap or a subject to, or a land contract for deed lease with option to purchase. Find a mentor, find a book, but find a way to build that into your skillset as a real estate professional. It will just make it so much easier to get in with probate attorneys like rabbits that are like, oh, okay, well, I got me, I got my two guys but neither one of them do this. So I’m going to make room on the team for you. 

Like if somebody comes in that can get the difficult deals done and we haven’t even gotten in the title issues and like reverse mortgages and HECM loans and how to navigate that. Like, I don’t know what your experience has been, but the majority of families that I see that have a reverse mortgage on the house.

Typically, they’re still pissed off that mom and dad did that because they advised them not to and they just put their head in the sand and let it roll the foreclosure, even if there’s equity and in that example where if you had that guy on your dream team, he is a seasoned investor.

He’s risk-tolerant he knows that I’ve got a 90-day window. I’ll come in, buy cash for it, sub2 transaction, title transfers with the first position lien in place. And then I’ll refinance it through my community bank as soon as I get a tenant in there and I can show them that I have a 1.2, five debt coverage ratio.

Boom. He took a deal that was going to go to foreclosure. The family was going to give up the equity and you turned it into a deal for that investor. And that investor he helped your firm be able to close that probate deal out because the assets are disposed of. When you can think outside of the box as probate attorneys and real estate professionals, it’s just a hell of a lot more fun to like transaction engineering is like my favorite game.

It’s like, Ooh, can you stump me? I’ve had a really good time learning that. And in the probate space, creative financing is more complicated because you not only have to understand the real estate law, you better understand probate law too. And what that timeline looks like in your state and what you’re getting into.

Like As Rilus said, one of the tactics I’ve used is pump up a big fat earnest money deposit. So you stand out from all the other offers. Well, if you’re in California, throw down 10 grand and earnest money and, and the closing is subject to court approval. You might be out 10 grand for 10 months.

So make sure you understand the market you’re working in. In Probate Mastery we teach you kind of the macro and then show you how to get the micro knowledge, like that local probate process knowledge through the probate clerk, the probate code, probate attorneys. It’s a little more complex than the probate space but certainly doable.

I’ve taught hundreds and hundreds of people. I wish I could say thousands, but hundreds have actually taken action on that. So they’re out there like the, the right practitioners, but. Whereas, I know you had to jump and we’re just past the top of the hour. Like I said before we started, I think we could do a series that would go on for days.

I’m excited to have you as part of the Estate Professionals Mastermind community, man. I appreciate the value that you provide. I’ve seen you share in there, you contribute and that’s what it’s all about. Anything you want to say as we close out. Tell them how to get ahold of you.


Rilus Dana: So thanks for having me happy to be a part of this community. I’d love to come back. I’d love to give my take as a probate attorney and to help this community because I feel like this, you know, the real estate professionals that really helped my law firms. So this is great for the estate planning and probate attorneys in your network. Uh, best place to find my contact info. You can go to So my first and last name, that it has links to all my different websites. So we’re where I practice law in Arizona.

Attorneys, you can share, if you have attorneys in your networks, you can share with them my MAAT legal site, where I have continuing education classes on there including how they can work with real estate professionals.

Chad Corbett: Yeah. Well, listen, thanks so much for your time guys. I think this is probably the first of a series or many, many calls, possibly even ongoing calls. If you’ve gotten value from this and you enjoyed it, please be sure and drop in the comments anything that you might like to hear us touch on next. 

Is there anything you were waiting for us to get to that we didn’t, that, just a burning question, like something you’re interested in, something you’ve been intimidated about?

Drop some questions in the comments, so that way we know how we can bring value to you guys on future calls.

So thanks so much for being part of this community and tuning in today and Rilus thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you being here. 

Rilus Dana: Thanks, Chad! 

Chad Corbett: Have a good day, guys. 

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *