When an estate has been administered in a Vermont probate court and a final decree of distribution recorded in the land records, no reopening of the estate shall be required to convey an interest of the decedent merely because: (1) all of the real estate of the decedent or interest therein was not included in the inventory or in the decree of distribution, or (2) the description of such estate or interest in the inventory or decree was inaccurate, or (3) any other error or omission has occurred to cause such estate or interest to be misdescribed in the probate record. A deed by heirs or devisees, whether in warranty or quitclaim form, shall be effective to pass title to real estate if the existing probate record enables a clear and unambiguous determination that the grantors would be the persons entitled to decree of such estate or interest if the estate were reopened to correct the error or include the omitted property.
Comment 1. No provision is made in this standard for reduction of risk upon passage of time, because the nature of the risks are not time-related. If additional federal or state succession or inheritance taxes are due based on the additional value of the omitted interest, this can generally be determined from the probate record, a determination of probable date of death value made, and amended returns as necessary and clearances secured without the necessity of additional probate administration. The status of claims against the decedent and expenses of administration are likewise a matter of probate record.
Comment 2. Adequate references to the probate record and recital of the erroneous or omitted information is recommended for convenience, but not a requirement of this standard.
March 29, 2000:
- Added the word warranty, in the phrase which begins “whether in” and before the words “quit claim.”