Question

I see your hotline answer today, and I’m still not sure if my seller is exempt (I have asked them to check with an attorney to be sure, but I’d like to understand it for myself). Here is how title is held: Heirs and devisees of the Estate of XXX, deceased

Answer

Broker should consult the title company that will be asked to insure title. If title will be conveyed by the personal representative or executor of the estate, the property is owned by an estate and is exempt under the Seller Disclosure Act. If title will be conveyed by the heirs of the deceased, then title has already passed from the estate to the heirs and the heirs are not exempt. Ultimately, compliance with the Seller Disclosure Act is seller's obligation and it is not within broker's licensed authority to interpret and apply the law for seller. Thus, if the title officer cannot assist seller in determining whether it is exempt based on the identity of the seller, then broker should advise seller to consult seller's legal counsel. Typically, whether the seller is exempt or not is obvious. If it is not obvious, then broker should advise seller, in writing, to consult legal counsel consistent with broker's Agency Law duty to advise her client to seek the advice of an expert on issues that exceed the scope of broker's expertise.

Date of Posting

1/13/2021

Legal Disclaimer

The Legal Hotline Lawyer does not represent Washington REALTORS® or its members. The advice contained herein does not constitute legal counsel. Please consult with your managing broker for best practices.

Association Name

WASHINGTON ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®