An affidavit of heirship must be signed by two witnesses who can swear to specific facts, including their personal acquaintances with the decedent, states Heirship.com. The witnesses must swear that the decedent leaves no unpaid debts. The witnesses must attest to the true identity of heirs and family members. The witnesses must include knowledge of the date and place of the decedent's death. The witnesses must swear that they stand to gain nothing from the estate.
The estate must meet three conditions for an affidavit of heirship filing: the decedent died intestate, there is no legal appointment of a personal representative, and formal administration is unnecessary. The witnesses must sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public, which is then filed in the deeds office in the county were the property exists, explains Heirship.com.
A surviving spouse or children of the decedent may file the affidavit of heirship to obtain ownership of community property if the surviving spouse and the decedent are the parents of the children. The affidavit is allowed as long as the property value does not exceed the limits set by state laws where the property exists, according to Heirship.com.
The affidavit spares heirs the lengthy probate process to get title to real estate, notes Heirship.com. Title companies accept properly executed affidavits of heirship to transfer ownership of property. Sometimes financial institutions may require a court-appointed executor before releasing estate funds.