Affidavit of Heirship
Affidavits of Heirship in Texas
In Texas, a probate attorney can prepare what is known as an Affidavit of Heirship to transfer estate property to the deceased person’s surviving family members. While an Affidavit of Heirship is one of the cheapest, fastest ways to distribute property to heirs, it is only available when the decedent died without a will and there is no need for estate administration. Moreover, most banks and brokerages will not transfer money from a decedent’s accounts to heirs based on an Affidavit of Heirship and will instead require a Small Estate Affidavit or a judicial Determination of Heirship. Furthermore, Affidavits of Heirship may not be advisable in situations where all of the surviving heirs do not get along or otherwise do not have contact with one another.
An affidavit of heirship must be completed by an uninterested person. An uninterested person is an individual who will not inherit from the decedent’s estate. An affidavit of heirship must contain the following information:
- The name and address of the affiant
- How many years affiant has known decedent
- Decedent’s name, date and place of death, and residence at time of death
- Decedent’s marital history, including dates of marriage and divorce
- Decedent’s family history, including birth and death dates of spouses and/or children
- Status of decedent’s last will and testament, or lack thereof
- Information on any taxes or debts owed by decedent
- Information regarding any real property owned by decedent
- Information regarding any administration of decedent’s estate
The main advantage of an Affidavit of Heirship is that it does not require a court proceeding, which in turn minimizes the time, money, and stress associated with other probate procedures. It is best used in uncomplicated family situations in small estates where the only asset in the decedent’s estate is his or her residence.