Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Georgia
I am a executor of an estate. Can I do a quit claim deed on a piece of property?
4 Answers from Attorneys
If you're the executor and don't have a lawyer you're likely to totally mess up an estate, and the question you ask is one way you can mess up.
Before an executor can transfer or sell property they must do certain steps correctly. Once they are done, the transfer generally is NOT by a quitclaim deed. Depending on facts we do not have you may be doing an Assent to Devise or an Executors Deed.
But your job one is to get a lawyer. When you make mistakes in probate, you can be liable to the heirs and estate for every dollar you mishandle.
Why would you do a quitclaim deed? It depends on what the deed is for and what you are trying to accomplish.
Assuming that you and others inherited a piece of land and you want to relinquish your share of the land to one of the other heirs, you may be able to do so via quitclaim deed. However, if you as an executor are trying to convey land on behalf of the estate to someone else, you would use an executor's deed.
Without knowing more facts, I have to agree with Attorney Ashman. Some estates are simple and some are not. You at least need to consult with a probate attorney if you don't already have one before you start conveying away property. If you do not do it correctly, the heirs of the estate can come after you personally if you cause a financial loss to the estate.
I agree with my fellow lawyers, both have given excellent advice. You have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate and a wrong move could create a lot of liability for you.
An executor must follow the terms of the will and the law. However, this can get tricky. For example, the will may say that a certain person receives real estate, and it is the duty of the executor to transfer that real estate via executor's to the beneficiary so long as the real estate is not needed to pay off debts of the estate, or for some other legal reason. In order to determine this, a notice to debtors and creditors needs to be published. Otherwise, should an executor deed the property without paying debts, the executor could be held personally liable for them. I agree with the others who said that you need to sit down with a probate lawyer to learn the correct steps for distribution and to ensure that the law and the will are being followed correctly.
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