What is a Warranty Deed for Real Estate?

A warranty deed is a legal document that is used to transfer ownership of real estate from one person to another. It is considered one of the most secure forms of real estate conveyance because it offers specific guarantees to the new owner, known as "warranties." Understanding what a warranty deed is and how it works can be important for anyone buying or selling real estate.

A warranty deed is a written document that contains specific promises or guarantees made by the seller (the grantor) to the buyer (the grantee). The key feature of a warranty deed is that it guarantees the buyer that the property being sold is free and clear of any encumbrances, such as mortgages, liens, or other debts. This means that if any issues arise with the property's title, the seller is liable to the buyer for any damages.

Warranty deeds are divided into different types based on the level of protection offered. A General Warranty Deed offers the most comprehensive protection, as it includes several types of warranties, including:

  • A warranty of title: The seller guarantees that they have a clear and marketable title to the property and that they have the right to sell it.

  • A warranty of quiet enjoyment: The seller guarantees that the property will not be disturbed by any adverse claims or liens.

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What Happens to Real Estate in Probate in Washington State?

When a person dies, their assets must go through the probate process before they can be distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. This process can be complicated and time-consuming, particularly when it comes to real estate. In Washington State, the probate process for real estate can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Generally, when a person dies and leaves behind real estate, the property will pass through probate court. The court will appoint an executor to oversee the administration of the estate, and that person will be responsible for managing the property during the probate process.

The first step in the probate process for real estate is to open the estate in probate court. In Washington state this is done by filing a petition for probate with the appropriate court, the court will then appoint an executor and issue letters of testamentary which allow the executor to handle the decedent's assets and pay debts.

Once the estate has been opened, the executor will be responsible for taking an inventory of the decedent's assets, including the real estate property. They will also have to provide notice to the heirs and any interested parties of the probate case and the date set for the hearing. The executor will also be responsible for ensuring that the property is properly maintained and insured during the probate process.

If the decedent's will or trust has detailed instructions on how the property should be distributed, it's usually much easier to transfer the property to the designated beneficiaries. The executor will have to follow the instructions in the will or trust in regards to the property and distribute it accordingly.

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