Did you know… that when a property is being sold by an estate, the personal representative may not provide the buyer with a warranty deed?

Personal representatives will often only sign a personal representative’s deed, which does not contain any warranties. The reason why is that a warranty deed requires the grantor (seller) to warrant and defend the title against any claims and demands of the grantor and all persons claiming by, through, and under him or her. Generally speaking, there are two types of warranty deeds: a special warranty deed and a general warranty deed. The special warranty deed requires the seller to defend a buyer against only the claims that arise out of the seller’s ownership of the property. A general warranty deed requires the seller to defend the title against all claims, even if the basis for the claim arose fifty years before the seller came into ownership. The personal representative, in most cases, has not owned the property and does not have sufficient personal knowledge of the property to enable them to warrant the title to the property. Thus, the personal representative will sign a personal representative’s deed which does not contain any warranties.

The current versions of GCAAR and MAR contracts do not require the personal representative to provide the purchaser with a warranty deed. The NVAR contract, however, requires the seller to provide the purchaser with a general warranty deed. If you are the listing agent for an estate property and are using the NVAR contract, you should consult an attorney about how to amend the contract so that the personal representative does not have to provide a warranty deed.