A determination of heirship is the process of finding the heirs of a deceased person who passed away without a will, Legal Zoom explains. After the submission of an application, the court initiates the process and usually appoints an attorney to take on the task of locating the deceased's heirs. The court reviews the attorney's findings and issues a determination as to who may receive the assets in the deceased's estate.
When someone dies without a will, the process on how to distribute his estate can be difficult and time-consuming, Rocket Lawyer reports. If there is only one heir, or the known heirs all agree on how to distribute the estate, this could ease the process — if the heirs filed affidavits of heirship. This affidavit lists all the information known about the deceased, including his name and address. This affidavit also outlines the heir's relationship with the deceased.
The laws to determine heirship vary by state, Legal Zoom notes. Filing a petition for determination of heirship usually includes the name and address of the deceased along with the names and address of the heirs. The petition generally includes a description of the property subject to the court action. Most courts require a copy of the death certificate attached to the petition and notification to all other known heirs.