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An heirship affidavit is a legal document that may be used in some parts of the United States, including Texas, to avoid probate. Ownership of real property can pass to the deceased person's heirs quickly by using this method. The affidavit can be used in situations where a person died without leaving a valid will and where the bulk of the assets making up the estate is the real estate.
The affidavit must be signed by two individuals with personal knowledge about the deceased's estate, but who do not stand to gain anything financially from it. Each person who signs the heirship affidavit is stating under oath that they knew the deceased. The date and location of death are listed on the form, along with the names of the deceased family members and legal heirs.
The deceased's marital history, including his or her spouse's name, date of marriage and the date the couple were divorced or the date the spouse died are listed on the form. The name and current address of the deceased's living children must be provided on the heirship affidavit form. If the deceased was never married and did not have any children, the names of the deceased's parents are listed.
The individuals executing the heirship affidavit are also swearing that the deceased was debt-free at the time of his or her death. The two witnesses are required to clearly indicate that they will not benefit financially from the deceased's estate. The signed document and notarized document is filed with the County office for land records.
For the heirship affidavit to be legally binding, it must be signed in front of a notary public. The notary is a person who has the authority to administer oaths and act as an official witness. The notary is also responsible for confirming the identity of the deponents who will be signing the affidavit by asking to see some identification before the document is signed. Acceptable forms of identification will include an image, a physical description of the individual and a signature. The notary also dates and signs the document, and affixes an official seal to the affidavit to complete his or her official duties.
Once this step has been completed, the deceased's heirs assume ownership of the property. The filed heirship affidavit gives the heirs the right to sell the real estate if they wish. The new owners may also choose to retain the property for their own use.
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