Dealing with deeds from heirs with PA Title Insurance in mind…
Intestate heirs can convey property without opening an estate and having an administration appointed, however such a conveyance within a year from the date of death will not assist the owner in obtaining proper pa title insurance. Examples:
Donovan dies intestate January 1, 2016, leaving two sons as his only heirs. In March 2016, the two sons (as heirs) sell their fathers house to Terrell for $150,000. In April, Donovan’s brother applies for and is granted letters of administration. In May, 2016, Donovan’s brother Hugh (as administrator) sells Donovan’s house to Brian for $150,000. In this situation, Brian has the superior title. The title which vested in the heirs at the time of death was subject to the rights of an administrator appointed within one year of death.
Another problem with insuring a deed from “heirs” is that it is inherently difficult to be sure that you have ALL the heirs signing. There may be an heir that the others do not like or is estranged, or perhaps the heirs do not understand the laws of intestate succession and someone may be omitted inadvertently. When you have a decedent for a seller and no administrator has been appointed, it is standard practice for us a PA Title Company to call for an estate to be opened and an administrator appointed.