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Why and How to Use an Affidavit of Heirship

By: Robin Accipiter March 4, 2020 no comments

Why and How to Use an Affidavit of Heirship

When a loved one passes away without a will in place, distributing the estate can prove complicated.

When someone dies without a will, their estate often needs to go through probate. This involves the court identifying heirs, settling debts, resolving claims, and dividing assets. However, this process can be time-consuming and costly, prompting consideration of alternatives to court involvement.

In cases where only real property remains to be divided among heirs, a title company may accept an affidavit of heirship. This document identifies the deceased person’s heirs, providing notice to the public and facilitating property transfer without court intervention.

What is an Affidavit of Heirship? Under Texas law, when someone dies without a will, their estate immediately vests in their legal heirs. An affidavit of heirship is a legally recognized document that identifies these heirs, including their contact information and details of the deceased’s passing.

When preparing this document, you’ll need to provide various information about the deceased, such as their last known residence, marital history, family details, outstanding debts, and property specifics. Additionally, two disinterested witnesses must verify the information, typically individuals who knew the deceased for at least 10 years and have no stake in the estate.

Once completed, the affiant (the person swearing to its accuracy) must sign the affidavit in front of a notary public, along with the witnesses. This document, along with an official death certificate, is typically required by title companies before property transfer.

While an affidavit of heirship can simplify matters, it’s not always the best option. Complications may arise from factors like unknown heirs, communication issues among heirs, or high estate value. Seeking legal guidance, such as from Harris Cook, can help navigate the complexities of proving heirship and managing the estate.

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