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Small Estate and Heirship Affidavit Forms



How to Use an Heirship Affidavit to Avoid Probate

An heirship affidavit is a sworn statement used to establish ownership of property when the original owner dies intestate and the estate isn't worth more than a statutory amount. This legal document is used in some states to avoid probate. Heirship affidavits are the easiest method to pass ownership of personal or real property to a deceased person's heirs.

An affidavit of heirship should be duly signed by individuals who have personal knowledge about the decedent's real property. Any witnesses should indicate in writing that they have no personal gain from signing the affidavit of heirship. The persons who sign the affidavit state under the oath that they knew the deceased person. The affidavit will contain the location and date of death, as well as the names of the legal heirs and family members of the deceased. It will also include the deceased person's history of marriage, including the name of the spouse. The names and addresses of the deceased person's living children will also be included in the affidavit. In case the decedent was never married, it may contain the decedent's parents' names. The signer of the affidavit of heirship typically swears that the deceased person had no debts at the time of death.

A small estate affidavit is a sworn statement filed in the probate court stating that an estate meets the requirements of a small estate and requires appropriate summary probate process. To make the heirship affidavit legally binding, it must be signed in front of a notary public. A notary is a person who is authorized to execute oaths and act as a witness officially. The notary confirms the identity of the deponent and the witnesses by verifying their identification documents. The process shall be complete after the notary dates and sign the affidavit, and affixes his official seal. It may be filed with the county's deed records. An affidavit of heirship can be used for collection of personal property only in some states.

Summary administration is an alternate process of transferring title of a small estate without following the regular steps of probate. Summary administration rules may vary from one state to another. In summary administration, the beneficiaries are required to sign a petition asking the court to admit the final will, if there is any. The beneficiaries swear in writing that they are not aware of any later wills, that the decedent owed no money to anyone, and that the listed assets are the only assets that belonged to the decedent. The petition will also contain clauses for proper division of the estate. For filing with the clerk of court, the petition shall be accompanied by a copy of the paid funeral bill and also an affidavit to the fact that the deceased owed no debts at the time of death. An Order of Summary Administration is equivalent to a deed through which all the rights would transfer to the successor.