What is the difference between an executors deed and an administrators deed?

Question

What is the difference between an executors deed and an administrators deed?

Answer

When dealing with the distribution of an estate after a person dies, you will likely either hear the term executor's deed and administrator's dee d.  Both are documents designed to officially distribute property and transfer it to the decedents, but an executor's deed is used when the deceased left a will behind. An administrator's deed is the document of someone who died without official notification of how he or she wanted their property distributed.

  • An executor is the person appointed by the deceased to see to it that property is distributed according to the will. The executor may be named in the will itself, or may have been officially given the role before the person in question passed away. The executor may also be an official, such as a lawyer – or it may be a family member, spouse, or friend. This depends entirely on the wishes of the deceased.
  • Should a person die with property left behind and no will stating how to distribute it, the probate court will take responsibility for the property and appoint an administrator. This person is then given the official power to distribute the property. Legally, none of the family of the deceased has the right to this property until it has been officially handled by the probate court and released to them by the administrator.

Both executors and administrators must prepare official deeds to transfer property titles into the names of those receiving them. The deeds generally must be officially worded and state the process by which the decision to transfer the property was made, whether it is in accordance with a will or by the judgment of the court-appointed administrator. The deed must be witnessed and notarized, and then becomes a legal and binding document.

In any case, after a death, you should strongly consider speaking with a lawyer to handle the distribution of assets and other legal complexities that arise. 

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