Can the executor of estate use a quit claim deed to transfer the decedent's property to the heirs? If so, are there other steps one must take since it is an estate. I'm assuming I'd need to provide a short certificate and death certificate. The estate is ready to be closed.
Estate Planning Attorney
You should use an executor's deed to transfer the property out of the estate and into the names of the beneficiaries. It sounds as if you are not using an attorney to assist you, but it may be wise to engage one to help you with this.
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Real Estate Attorney
Attorney Schwager is absolutely correct. The proper deed is a warranty deed with executor's covenant.
Let me explain why this is true. A quit claim deed is not really a deed and it does not convey an interest in real estate. It merely releases the interests, if any, of a party in the property.
Title insurance companies will look for a warranty deed in the chain of title and not be happy with a quit claim. In many cases, the quit claim will cause title to be un-insurable, because the title company will suspect that there was a reason the executor deviated from normal practice.
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Estate Planning Attorney
Mr. Tupitza is spot on.
Back in property class in law school, we all learned a basic principle:
"No one can transfer more of an interest in property than one has."
A quit claim deed doesn't transfer an interest. It basically says, "Whatever interest the grantor may (or may not) have in this property, I am "quitting my claim" in it to the grantee.
An executor, on the other hand, does have an interest in the property, even though it is an interest recognized only by the law. He was given this interest by the deceased who made a will, for the only purpose of passing the deceased's interest according to the will to whomever was named in the will.
As the others have suggested, don't try to make this transfer on your own. If you don't know exactly what you're doing, whomever gets the property according to the will may have trouble transferring the property when and if they decide to sell it. You must not think just about the money you might be saving in not hiring a lawyer, you must also think of the people who own the property after the deceased.
Ask yourself one question, "Would the deceased, whose executor you are, want the person to whom he's willed the property to have trouble selling it down the road because the title is defective?"
I think you already know the answer.
Hire a lawyer.
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