Affidavit of Heirship
An affidavit of heirship is a sworn statement with information about all persons legally entitled to share property left behind by someone after they die.
Once accepted by a Texas court in a probate proceeding this document and the information it contains is considered to be prima facie evidence (after 5 years) that is presumed valid until disproven.
An affidavit of heirship is basically a statement of facts about the family history of someone who is deceased. These facts are used to determine who may be entitled to receive property from a decedent's estate.
In Texas, this affidavit must also set each heirs percentage of ownership.
An affidavit of heirship is used when the decedent dies without a will or when there is property that is not otherwise addressed in a valid will.
An affidavit of heirship must be signed by two individuals who have no interest in the estate. Neither of these individuals can gain anything financially (or otherwise) from the estate.
Such affidavits are considered sworn instruments of the court. Affiants can be held responsible and face penalties for any false information knowingly given.
If there are no surviving children or spouse the identity of the decedent's mother and father must be included in the affidavit, even if both parents of the decedent are also deceased. Information about any siblings or other relatives must also be disclosed including any children of the siblings who died before the decedent.
An affidavit of heirship does not preclude the interest of any heir or creditor that is not mentioned. Anyone with an interest in the estate may challenge information contained in the affidavit and seek to have any mistakes corrected or additional information addressed by the court.
If there are any unknown heirs the court may appoint an attorney to act as guardian ad litem. This guardian is charged with investigating and protecting the interests of the unknown heirs until probate is concluded.
For more information and/or help with probate and/or affidavits of heirship click here.
John Q. Lawyer
Attorney at Law
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