Kansas Probate Process and the Estate Administration Deeds

Probate is the court process by which aperson’s assets are transferred to those entitled to receive them after he orshe has died. This process, also called estate administration, is mandatory forall of the decedent’s property that does not transfer pursuant to asurvivorship interest, trust, or recorded beneficiary deed.

When the property owner dies, a custodian must deliver the decedent’s will, if one exists, to the district court in which the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death is situated. Once the probate process is initiated, the estate is administered pursuant to the terms of the decedent’s will. If a decedent dies intestate (without a will), interested persons may petition the court for probate, and the estate is administered pursuant to Kansas laws of intestate succession.

The court confirms a personal representative (PR) to take charge of administering the decedent’s estate by issuing him or her letters. The letters evidence the personal representative’s authority to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate. The PR is called an executor when named in the decedent’s will, or an administrator when the decedent dies intestate or the decedent’s will fails to designate an executor (or if a named executor is unable or unwilling to serve).

In line with a PR’s duties is marshalling the decedent’s assets, notifying beneficiaries, paying the estate’s debts and valid claims, and distributing the remainder of the estate. This may involve selling a decedent’s real property, either pursuant to the terms of the will, to generate funds to pay the estate’s debts, or to consolidate the estate. Regardless of the situation, the PR must execute a deed to convey real property from the estate. Deeds executed by persons in a representative capacity are generally named after the type of fiduciary using them (trustee’s deed, conservator’s deed, executor’s deed, administrator’s deed, etc.).

Kansas recognizes two separate forms for executors’ use. One form is specific to a conveyance pursuant to an order for sale issued by the district court. The other is sufficient for conveying property pursuant to a power of sale in the decedent’s will. In the case of the former, the deed recites information concerning the order for sale. When the personal representative indicates via will that the personal representative may sell real estate on behalf of the estate, there is no court confirmation required. Administrator’s deeds in Kansas are functionally equivalent to executor’s deeds pursuant to an order for sale, but are used, as the name suggests, by PRs when the decedent has died intestate.

Pursuant to Kansas law, conveyances by PRs “transfer such real estate free and clear from liens and claims of all creditors of the decedent … and of the heirs, devisees and legatees of the decedent” (K.S.A. § 59-1410(b)).

Related Kansas Probate Forms:

Consult a lawyer with questions about the probate process and estate administration deeds in Kansas.