A Connecticut Land Deed and the Probate Court: Executor’s and Administrator’s Deeds

The Connecticut Probate Court oversees the transfer of a decedent’s property to those entitled to it in a process called probate. All property the decedent owned at the time of death must go through probate, excluding survivorship assets, assets held with a beneficiary designation, and assets held in trust. Smaller estates may be eligible for an expedited probate process. Probate proceedings take place in the probate district in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.

The personal representative is the fiduciary appointed by the court to settle the affairs of the decedent’s estate, including paying estate taxes, valid claims, and administrative expenses, and making bequests on behalf of the estate. In Connecticut, the personal representative is called either an executor or an administrator, depending on the existence of a valid will.

An executor is a person named in a will to settle the estate. When a decedent dies with a will (testate), the executor follows the terms of the will after the will has been probated (the process of validating a will). The persons entitled to receive the decedent’s assets, as established by the will, are called beneficiaries.

An administrator is a person appointed by the court to settle the estate when there is no will. When the decedent dies without a will (intestate), the administrator follows Connecticut laws of intestacy, and the persons entitled to receive the decedent’s assets are called heirs.

Real property, except for parcels held in a survivorship tenancy or in a trust, is subject to probate. Connecticut requires, within two months of appointment, that the fiduciary file a Notice for Land Records/Appointment of Fiduciary with the town clerk in each locality where the decedent owned real property at the time of death.

To convey a decedent’s real property, the personal representative uses either an executor’s deed or an administrator’s deed, depending on the fiduciary’s designation. In Connecticut, executor’s deeds and administrator’s deeds are statutory forms (§§ 47-36c) that convey the fee simple title that the decedent had at the time of death to the grantee (who is either a beneficiary, heir, or buyer). To sell real property, the personal representative “must obtain permission from the Probate Court…unless specifically authorized to do so under the terms of the will” [1].

Personal representative’s deeds name the personal representative as the duly qualified and authorized grantor, and include a reference to the decedent. Executor’s deeds and administrator’s deeds contain the same covenants, namely: that the personal representative is qualified to act as such; that the personal representative is authorized to bargain and sell the property pursuant to the terms of the decedent’s will or by order of the probate court; and that the personal representative will warrant and defend the grantee’s title against the claims of persons by, from, or under the personal representative (§ 47-36q, 47-36r).

Deeds require the signature of each grantor and two witnesses in Connecticut. Record the deed in the office of the town clerk in the locality where the property is situated. Contact a lawyer to ensure that all necessary supporting documentation is submitted with the deed.

As part of estate administration duties, Connecticut requires the personal representative to file a certificate of devise, descent, or distribution describing each devise or distribution of real property, to be recorded within a month, in the land records of each town where the property is situated (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-450).

Available Connecticut Probate Documents:

Consult a lawyer with questions about estate administration, the fiduciary duties of a personal representative, and executor’s and administrator’s deeds in Connecticut.

[1] http://www.ctprobate.gov/Documents/User%20Guide%20-%20Administration%20of%20Decedents’%20Estates.pdf