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What is the proper way for a Personal Representative to transfer real estate to the appropriate heir from a probate in Arizona?

Gilbert, AZ |

Real Estate through formal probate has been awarded to one of the heirs. As a Personal Representative, how is the best way to transfer this property to the heir, while still protecting the Title Insurance on it? This property was held solely by the deceased. Does it first have to transfer to the estate and then to the heir? What kind of Deeds do you use? I've heard Quitclaim Deeds, but I've heard they don't protect the Title Insurance. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Attorney Answers 3


A Deed of Distribution is the proper way to transfer the real estate.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice.

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Get a probate attorney and/or a title company to help you do this. They will help you (1) get a certified copy of the Order regarding the real property and have that recorded, and (2) record a deed of distribution along with a certified copy of the Letters of Personal Representative. You will be recording three documents. Don't try to take a shortcut because all it takes is one little mistake to create a title problem.

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In Arizona when a Personal Representative distributes real property from a probate estate it will typically be either a Personal Representative’s Deed or Deed of Distribution. The instrument will contain “grant and convey” language, however, there is usually additional language stating the conveyance is “without warranty, express or implied.” The rational for the disclaiming language is once the probate is concluded, and the Personal Representative’s capacity ceases, there is no entity in existence to stand behind the warranties in the deed. A Quit-Claim Deed is very similar in that it too contains no warranties, however, such an instrument does not “convey” title but is simply an acknowledgment that whatever title grantor may hold is disclaimed in favor of the grantee. As far as title insurance is concerned, it will be necessary for the beneficiary to purchase a policy of title insurance. A prudent practitioner will contact the underwriting department of a title company to secure its blessing on the form of deed prior to recording.

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