A Declaration Of Heirship: Everything You Need To Know

Declaration of Heirship

A declaration of heirship offers a way to transfer the ownership of the deceased person’s property to their heirs without going through probate court.

When the decedent leaves a valid will, each heir knows what portion of the estate they’ll inherit. However, an intestate situation makes it challenging to determine who is the rightful heir and what portion they deserve.

In this case, an affidavit plays a critical role in establishing who the real heirs are and the proper estate distribution methodology.

But how does it all happen, and what is needed of an heir?

Read on to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • A declaration is a written statement created under oath to provide facts that apply as evidence in court.
  • Filing an affidavit of heirship is more time and cost-effective than filing a probate case.
  • Get in touch with us now and learn more about how we can assist you with an heirship affidavit.

What is a Declaration of Heirship?

What is Declaration of heirship

A declaration states the heirs

A declaration of heirship, also known as heirship affidavit, is a legal document that states the heirs of a person who died without a will. It’s a written statement created under oath to provide facts that apply as evidence in court.

The affiant details crucial information about the decedent and their heirs. An heir is any person related by blood to the deceased, such as immediate family members, spouse, and child. This affidavit is commonly used to decide the rightful heirs of an estate.

When is the Declaration of Heirship Necessary?

You’ll only need a document to guide estate distribution when the decedent dies intestate. As an heir, you may need to open a case in probate court to have the estate left behind passed to you.

However, filing an affidavit of heirship is more time and cost-effective than filing a probate case. Below are the situations through which you can use it to transfer an estate to your name.

  1. When the deceased left no will.
  2. When you identify as a lawful beneficiary.
  3. You want the estate transferred to your possession without the probate court process.
  4. All beneficiaries have agreed on estate distribution.

It’s worth noting that heirship affidavit may only help in some probate situations, as every jurisdiction has a varying set of rules.

Sections of an Heirship Affidavit

A court document showing the probate court process

Probate cases

Every affidavit has crucial sections you must fill to make it valid and acceptable to a probate clerk. Besides, the information you enter in each section helps the registrar understand the context.

  1. The Affiant

This is the first part of every affidavit, requiring detailed information on the person making the declaration. You must enter your full name, address, and other relevant information.

  1. Declaration of Relation

The second component comprises your relation with the deceased. Be sure to write this section in the first person and prove that you knew the decedent, detailing their full name and death. Also, clearly indicate how you are related to them.

  1. The Bereaved

This part of the affidavit indicates the marital history and status of the bereaved. The information in this section indicates whether the decedent has a spouse, children, etc.

Providing a clear history of the decedent helps the probate registrar understand how many people are claiming the estate. Therefore, you should include a comprehensive list of all known surviving heirs in the bereaved or departed section of your affidavit.

  1. Signatures

The final part of the declaration of heirship and indemnity is written in the first person, assuring that the information provided in the document is accurate. Below that is a space where the affiant must sign and indicate the date.

Legal Requirements for a Declaration of Heirship

Inheritance rights of stepchildren

Inheritance rights

Having filled all the sections discussed above may not be enough for the declaration to be considered legal; you need to meet additional thresholds for it to pass.

  1. Notarization

For the affidavit to qualify for probate court, it has to go through a notary republic and have at least two signatures of disinterested parties who clearly understand the deceased’s family and history.

The individuals must put their signature under a declaration that confirms that all the information stated by the affiant is accurate. It would be best if you also had a notary seal and signature.

  1. Filing an Heirship Affidavit and Indemnity

You must file the affidavit in the jurisdiction where the estate is located to transfer the property title. Usually, the affidavit becomes valid after a few years, and you may have problems transferring or selling the property before the affidavit matures.

Can a Declaration of Heirship Be Contested?

Contesting a will

Contesting a declaration

Even after you’ve met all the conditions for your declaration to pass the probate test, it can still be contested. Unlike a conclusive judicial determination, the affidavit can be contested, especially when the information provided is insufficient.

For example, suppose you omit one heir in your affidavit. In that case, they can present evidence to prove heirship and overrule your declaration.

Omitted heirs are the most likely to contest and indemnity based on perjury. So, if you file an affidavit but leave out a child from the deceased’s second marriage, the omitted heir could provide birth certificates and other evidence to partially or entirely overrule your declaration.

READ MORE: Record Click’s Heir Research Services, Costs, And Expectations.

Record Click has a team of experts to guide you through filing a declaration of heirship and other estate settlement services. We also provide the searches in affidavit form, ready for presentation in court.

Get in touch with us now and learn more about how we can assist you with an affidavit.