Sunday, July 29, 2007

query: is unfiled quit claim deed still valid if someone dies

Deeds that have been signed and are properly acknowledged before a notary are not impacted by the death of one of the parties unless there is some clause or estate related to that person's death.

As with any deed, the ownership interest is vulnerable until the deed has been recorded.

Be careful when working with a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney ceases upon the death of the principal.

Let me give you two examples.

Let's say Mr. Smith signed a deed in the morning at the closing table. The transaction closed and funds were disbursed. Mr. Smith dies in the afternoon before the deed is recorded. Is the deed he signed in the morning valid? Yes.

Now let's say Mr. Smith has given a Power of Attorney to his daughter. The daughter uses the POA to sign the sales agreement. Prior to closing, Mr. Smith dies. The daughter cannot proceed to close using the POA. She must raise an estate and the transaction will be completed by the fiduciary in charge of the estate. The fiduciary is the executor/excutrix or administrator/administratrix depending on whether or not Mr. Smith had a will.

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