Affidavits of heirship are legal documents that provide a listing of the heirs of a deceased person. It is often used in cases where the person has died intestate (without a will), in order to clarify issues regarding ownership of real or personal property. The affidavit basically identifies who the heirs of the deceased party are, which can often lead to conclusions about which properties they are entitled to receive through transfer.
In many cases, affidavits of heirship are recorded in the county land deed records in order to help clarify title to real estate. However, affidavits of heirship can also contain information regarding other property, such as vehicles, jewelry, and other items. The affidavit is a straight-forward way of transferring property from an estate to a beneficiary.
What Does an Affidavit of Heirship Need in Order to Be Official?
The affidavit of heirship is generally filed by the heir claiming the property. It should be clearly written and must be certified by a notary public. It also needs to be signed by two witnesses who:
- Are disinterested in the property (i.e., they do not stand to gain financially from the transfer)
- Know the deceased person, their date of death and names of other family members/heirs
- Know about any debts or other financial issues at the time of the person’s death
Each state may have different requirements regarding the witnesses, signing requirements, and information that must be listed in order to make an affidavit of heirship valid. Also, there should generally be no debts with regards to the real estate, and there should be no encumbrances or complex issues with regards to the transfers of property.
Are There Any Other Legal Issues Regarding Affidavits of Heirship?
As previously mentioned, each state may have different laws that cover wills, intestacy, probate, and other similar issues. With regards to affidavits of hardship, some states also impose a waiting period before an affidavit of heirship can be filed and enforced. For instance, they may require a waiting period of at least one year after the person’s death. This may be to allow some time for a will or other similar document to surface if it has not been found.
Lastly, if a will is found and is probated, it usually immediately disqualifies any heirship affidavits. This is because probate courts favor will documents, since they are direct instructions from the deceased person for the distribution of their estate.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Affidavit of Heirship?
Affidavits of heirship are important documents and need to be written very clearly and precisely. You may need to hire a qualified estate lawyer if you need help drafting, editing, or reviewing an affidavit of heirship. Your attorney can help ensure that the document conforms to state laws and requirements. Alternatively, if you need to challenge an affidavit or resolve any conflicts, your attorney can represent you in court as well.