For Trustees & Families

Christie’s Handles All the Issues for Families: Timing is Critical, But Where to Begin?

By Howard Morrel & Leslie Hirsch

If you have been named the trustee or executor of an estate with valuable properties that you intend to sell or transfer, the issues can seem overwhelming.

Not only are there a thousand details, but also many emotions – often with multiple stakeholders involved. Regardless of the geography, the law will also be a major factor: trustees and executors have a legal requirement to responsibly steward all the assets and do their best to maximize returns.

Goods must be inventoried, valued, and properly distributed. Art and collectibles may need to be handled by an auction house or qualified art shipper. Homes to be sold must be cleaned out and prepared for sale. Tax issues must be considered. Probate courts may be involved. Beneficiaries must be kept up-to-date and involved.

The timing of sales must also be just right, both for the beneficiaries and the marketplace. It’s expensive to keep a property off the market, but sometimes even more expensive to put it up for sale without proper preparation and previews to the right parties.

Everything has to happen in just the right order–but where to begin?

Choosing the Right Lawyer & Estate Brokerage

If you have a complex and valuable estate but do not already have an attorney, we suggest you bring one in as soon as possible. Look for a lawyer or law firm that specializes in high net-worth “trust administration” or “probate,” not just “estate planning.” And ask for references. A good attorney is well worth the cost to an estate, and the earlier their involvement, the better. Yes, we have a list: feel free to contact us right away.

Your choice of brokerage is just as important. Most brokers are interested only in a rapid sale, and have little or no understanding of the complex issues related to estates, probate, and the often time-consuming details of this work. Their impatience and inexperience may cost you.

We Offer Expertise, Patience, & Interest-Free Advances

Here at Christie’s International Real Estate Trusts & Estates Division, founded and overseen by Morrel Hirsch out of New York, we specialize in acting as brokers for luxury properties which are owned by trusts and estates, and you will find that our reputation in this realm is unparalleled. We are trusted globally by high net-worth families and their attorneys, as well as family offices, celebrities, and high-profile clients because we are known for our discretion, diligence, and care.

In short, we do much more than sell real estate–and generally at fees no higher than the usual commissions.

Our goal is to take the burden of all the details off a family–while maximizing returns–and to establish a long-term relationship with both you and your representatives. That means we handle property clean-outs, preparation, the sales or auction of goods and “chattel,” and can even advance funds interest-free to get the work done.

We are patient, methodical, pro-active, and always work closely with a family’s legal and financial team. We partner only with the best and most reliable contractors, auction houses, galleries, stagers, photographers, hazmat firms–whatever it takes.

Please take a look at the services we typically perform for trusts & estates sales.

Understanding the Issues with Laws, Taxes, Co-Op Boards

Along the way, you will also find our advice invaluable on many of the unexpected issues you are likely to encounter. Because we do this every day, we understand local laws, tax complications, how to prepare “board packages” for co-op apartments and condominiums, and much more.

Those acting as guardians of property for minors or incapacitated wards have special, additional burdens which we understand deeply. Morrel Hirsch is authorized under Part 36 of the New York code to be a court-appointed brokerage working with guardians. Howard Morrel is himself an attorney, and regularly works on these issues with high-profile clients.

Christie’s International Real Estate offers an extended network of trusted brokers and specialists throughout the United States and across the world–so yes, we will handle the houses on both coasts, along with that castle your loved one purchased while on vacation in Spain.

Trustees, Executors need help.

Contact Us to Help You Make the Best Decisions

If you have lost a loved one or you have been appointed a trustee, executor, or personal representative, and you are even considering the sale of a property, please contact us right away. We are happy to discuss your situation and help you make the best possible decision for you or your family. We also encourage you to have your attorney or other representative give us a call directly at (212) 956-4823.

All the best,
Howard, Leslie, & Team
Attract Excellence  →  Deliver Perfection

Recent Reviews & Testimonials for Our Work

GZ

Giuseppe Z.

Quick response, professionalism, and truly pleasurable to work with.

DM

Dawn M.

Top-notch team of real estate professionals!

RD

Remoon D.

Very professional. Takes her job very seriously, also patient and understanding. Leslie got me a very good deal, enjoyed working with her. Looking forward to furthering

CS

Carlos S.

It has been a very pleasant experience working with Morella and Howard, trusting their knowledge of the market, their negotiation skills, their professionalism, their courtesy, and

AB

Anonymous Buyer

Leslie is a very professional and knowledgeable agent. She was always available to answer our questions or concerns. She guided us throughout the process and had

RC

Roberto C.

Leslie was the consummate professional. She was straightforward, available, creative, patient and collaborative. If only I could do more deals with her.

SA

Sandy A.

My husband and I happened across Howard and Leslie while looking at another apartment. We just moved to NYC from Australia and didn't have a broker....

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Sean M.

As an attorney I regularly represent estate executors tasked with selling the real property of a deceased loved one. These types of deals often require a

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Steven

Howard is a gem. From the moment I was introduced to him, he stood out and was extremely professional in his approach and knowledge of the

SK

Suzanne K.

My husband and I met Leslie at an open house she was hosting on the Upper East Side where we first started our search to purchase

AP

Adriana P.

Morella Machado was diligent in helping me find my new apartment. She is a pleasure to work with and helped me with all the many closing

AMG

Ana-Maria G.

I asked Morella to find me a New York apartment while I was living over 1,000 miles away. She kept in constant communication, accommodated each of

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Anonymous Seller

Very impressed by Morella's reliability, attention to detail, and follow-through. From the start of the process of selling my condo, through the negotiations, to the finish,

BP

Ben P.

Farbod was very helpful to us as we revamped our apartment listing and showed the unit during the pandemic. He was always courteous and respectful in

SB

Seller & Buyer

Howard was the best real estate agent we could have asked for! He showed us a lot of houses and was very honest about the condition

SB

Seller & Buyer

Leslie is everything you could ask for in a realtor, she is the complete package! Persistence, great negotiating skills, awesome follow-through, communication, and very proactive, she

DK

David K.

Farbod was a pleasure to work with from when I first marketed my apartment with him until closing. He assisted with answering all my questions and

DS

David S.

Leslie & Howard are an exceptional real estate team. As a trusts and estates attorney, I have a duty to help my clients get the best

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Elsie W.

I have recommended Leslie to several friends with a wide variety of real estate needs and desires. Leslie has navigated the shark-infested waters of NY for

JJ

Jennifer J.

Leslie really listens to what you are looking for, so doesn't waste your time showing unsuitable properties. Her instinct on pricing saved me a great deal

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Nicole

Howard is a consummate real estate professional. He is knowledgeable, friendly, and patient. He was detail-oriented when it came to scheduling appointments and was extremely responsive.

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Nishit

I would recommend Farbod to all my family and friends. I understand there are a lot of factors in the sale price of a home but

PC

Pooja C.

Extremely grateful to Morella and Leslie for helping me find my perfect home. They are very knowledgeable, courteous, professional, and detail-oriented. They went above and beyond

LD

L. D.

Thank you so much for all you and your team have done in the 10 days since listing our apartment.  While we had been approached by

Notable Work in Trusts & Estates Property Sales

Upper East Side Co-op

One Manhattan Square | 225 Cherry Street, New York | $18,000,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

Two brothers inherited their parents’ Upper East Side co-op apartment, which had been occupied for over 50 years and contained a lifetime of belongings. One brother was a high-powered executive on the West Coast whose directive to our team was to “just take care of it and send the check.” The other brother lived locally and felt more of a personal attachment to his parents’ items.

SOLUTION:

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors met with the local brother and our highly skilled estate moving advisory partners to devise a plan to stage the apartment for sale using existing furniture while simultaneously sorting all personal items for family members, donation and disposal.

RESULT:

The brother on the West Coast was pleased to have the process fully managed. The family was very satisfied with the result, and the apartment sold for $3.2 million, a premium price for the building. In addition, while reviewing the parents’ belongings, the team uncovered a box of the father’s WWI war medals and other items that were meaningful to the family and would likely have been discarded with a less thorough approach.

Upper East Side Townhouse

The Halston House | 101 East 63rd Street, New York | $18,000,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

The attorney for a family office that owned a large Upper East Side townhouse and a 6-acre oceanfront compound in the Hamptons required extensive assistance with the valuation, appraisal, and sale of the real estate properties and a thorough assessment of the market value of all of the personal property in both locations. The latter included significant artwork, sculptures, antique furniture, and collectibles requiring specialized knowledge.

SOLUTION:

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors tapped into our extensive network of experts to ensure the right talent was in place. In addition to providing an astute valuation of the Manhattan townhouse and Hamptons estate, we arranged and supervised visits and evaluations conducted by Heritage Auctions, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonhams.

RESULT:

By creating an organized presentation of all items to the executor, attorney, and family, they could easily make decisions on what to do with the belongings after the sale. The Hamptons property sold for over $40 million, and the Manhattan townhouse sold for $8.9 million.

The Halston House

Hamptons Family Office

Mansion | 317 Murray Place Southampton, New York | $57,500,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

The Executor and the Estate’s attorney required local know-how and expert advice in representing a client who had inherited a piece of protected wetland in East Hampton many years prior. The town of East Hampton was in the process of purchasing wetland parcels from individual owners. However, the estate attorney required guidance to propose a purchase price to the township for the unique property.

SOLUTION:

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors provided a thorough comparative market analysis as well as a formal appraisal to use in determining a fair market price for the land.

RESULT:

The Executor was able to use our valuation to negotiate a sale with the town of East Hampton. The Family Office was happy to liquidate an otherwise unusable piece of land. Both parties have since referred multiple Estate clients to us.

East Village Guardianship Sale

Penthouse | 5 Tudor City Place, New York | $6,750,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

The court-appointed legal Guardian of a world-renowned Wall Street executive needed specialized assistance in managing the sale of the executive’s East Village home. Due to the owner’s fame, the transaction necessitated discretion and sensitivity. Although the apartment was situated in a highly desirable location, it was in severe disrepair and uninhabitable. Adding to the challenge, the seller passed away during the sale process.

SOLUTION:

Due to the Morrel Hirsch & Advisors team’s sterling reputation, the Guardian entrusted us to work with absolute discretion and privacy. To prepare the property for sale and achieve the best price for the estate, we handled all the logistics, electrical work, repair of extensive water damage in the kitchen and bathroom, furniture staging, cleaning, and more.

RESULT:

The resulting sale set a new record for the building. We were able to find a cash buyer who was willing to accept the property in as-is condition, which prevented the Estate from having to invest in more costly renovations. Moreover, the entire transaction was conducted with the privacy and care that the Guardian required. The Guardian has since referred over a dozen clients to us.

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors Is Deeply Respected in the Marketplace

Work With Us

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors is a tightly knit group of strategically handpicked, multilingual experts, collectively dedicated to the needs of their clients.