How to Fill Out an Affidavit of Heirship
An Affidavit of Heirship is an affidavit outlining the family history of a deceased person and the identity of any known heirs. The affidavit is then filed in the public records where the decedent’s real property is located. It can serve as a useful tool to aid in the search for legitimate heirs of a decedent who died intestate (without a will), although the affidavit is not a final, legal determination of the facts contained therein (i.e., the identity of the heirs). It creates a rebuttable presumption of the heirs to an estate. Below, we provide some tips on how to fill out an Affidavit of Heirship. Speak with a professional and experienced forensic genealogist for qualified, legitimate, and thorough help identifying the proper heirs to an estate.
Who Can Fill Out an Affidavit of Heirship?
An Affidavit of Heirship should be completed by someone other than an heir. The person should be familiar with the family history of the deceased party, and it should be someone who will obtain no personal benefit from the estate. Any financial incentive on the part of the person who fills out the form could call into question its legitimacy or accuracy. The person who fills out the form is known as the “affiant.”
Filling Out the Affidavit of Heirship
The affiant will need to fill out a variety of information in order to complete the Affidavit of Heirship. There is no one specific form to fill out, although there are certain legal requirements that must be satisfied that vary depending on the county in which the form is to be filed. The affiant should be prepared to include the following information in any Affidavit of Heirship:
● State and County where the Affidavit is to be filed (wherever probate would take place)
● Identifying information about the decedent: Name, address, date of death, age at death, marital status & identity of the spouse
● Identifying information about the affiant: Name, address, relationship to the decedent
● Information concerning the current state of the estate in question: Have any probate or other proceedings commenced? Are any debts owed, and will the estate fully cover them (and will there be anything leftover)?
● Information about children and grandchildren: Names of all children of the decedent, the children’s other parents, their current age and address, any adopted children, any children of any deceased children (living grandchildren)
● Information about other heirs: If the decedent has no surviving children or grandchildren, the form should include the names, addresses, and ages of the decedent’s father, mother, brothers and sisters. If no such heirs survive, then the affidavit should identify the next closest surviving relatives of the decedent.
● Any other additional information: Relationship to the decedent (relative, agent, attorney, etc.), basis and source of the included information, and anything else to help verify the veracity of the claims within the affidavit.
Finalizing the Form: Notarizing and Filing
An Affidavit of Heirship should be signed by the affiant in front of a Notary Public to ensure that it is duly notarized. The completed, notarized form should then be sent to the appropriate county for recording and filing. The affidavit must be properly notarized and recorded to be effective.
If you’re an estate administrator in need of skilled heir research services in order to satisfy due diligence requirements and determination of heirship proceedings, or assistance identifying and locating missing heirs to an estate, contact the dedicated and detail-oriented forensic genealogists at Von Langen, LLC at 800-525-7722.