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An affidavit of domicile is a legal document which indicates where someone lived at the time of death. In addition to disclosing someone's final place of residence, the affidavit of domicile also indicates how long the decedent lived in that location. This document is used when transferring assets out of the name of the deceased, and is prepared by a legal professional. Usually it needs to be notarized to be valid.
The idea behind an affidavit of domicile is that before releasing assets, the holder of the assets, such as a bank, wants to be satisfied that all debts and other obligations on the part of the deceased have been cleared. With an affidavit of domicile, it can be confirmed that there were no outstanding debts in the name of the deceased at the time of death, and that the assets can be released. To transfer ownership of property, this document must be presented.
At the time of death, people may have assets in several locations, especially if they moved around during their lives. The affidavit of domicile indicates where the deceased had established residence at the time of death, and how long the deceased had been resident in that location. It also usually includes a disclaimer which indicates that the deceased did not have residence status anywhere else, as this could cause conflicts with debts and obligations which might hinder the release of assets.
Documents such as a death certificate can also be required. The affidavit of domicile names the heir and indicates that the document is being presented by the executor of the estate so that assets are only released to the appropriate person. People may also be asked to show their identification to demonstrate that they have the legal right to transfer assets and make other decisions. This is done to confirm that any transactions are entirely legal, reducing liability for the bank or other institution handling the transfer of assets.
This document, among others which may be required after death, can be prepared by a lawyer who can assist an executor with the handling of an estate. Dealing with someone's estate can be a complicated process, and it can be helpful to work with an experienced lawyer who can offer advice, assistance, and guidance to make the process go more smoothly. Some lawyers specialize in assisting people with the execution of estates, and can also help with estate planning, organizing things before death so that the estate can be processed quickly.
When both of my parents were gone, my brother was in charge of their estate. I am sure glad this job went to him and not to me.
My parents lived in many different states and also had property in more than one state. They were snowbirds, living in the Midwest in the summer and in Arizona in the winter. They also owned property in both of these states.
I remember my brother talking about getting a notary statement and affidavit of domicile before assets could be released.
This was quite a long process before everything was said and done. It was at least a year before all the wrinkles were ironed out. I don't think I would have done a very good job of handling the stress and details of figuring all of that out.
@julies - You were very wise to hire an attorney to help you through this process. I have some legal background, so when I was executor of my aunts estate, I was able to figure most of it out on my own.
She never had any kids, and there weren't any complicated things to figure out. She was born, lived and died in the same state her whole life. In fact this was all within a few miles of each other.
There are many online websites where you can find free legal forms and forums to help you out if you have questions. I found one helpful site where you could print off a free affidavit of domicile form along with other pertinent documents.
I only have one sister and she lives way across the country from me. When my dad passed away, he assigned me as executor of his estate.
I knew that my brother-in-law would be very difficult to deal with, so I hired an attorney to deal with as much of this as possible. That way any complaints he had, he could take them up with the attorney and not me.
In order to keep a good, ongoing relationship with my sister, this was the best way to handle it. My attorney worked with me to make sure we had all the appropriate documentation including an affidavit of domicile form and death certificate.
There is a lot of confusing paperwork that needs to be done in these situations. I felt so much better working with a qualified attorney than trying to muddle through by myself.
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