What Is an Affidavit of Heirship in Texas?
An Affidavit of Heirship is a legal document that some states, including Texas, use to establish the heirs of an individual who dies without a will. When an individual dies without a legal will, it is called dying intestate. The Texas Estates Code allows for the use of Affidavits of Heirship to help bring clarity to these situations. This means that a court can receive Affidavits of Heirship in the following cases:
- A proceeding to declare heirship.
- A suit involving title to property to establish prima facie evidence of the statement of family history, genealogy, marital status, or the identity of heirs. Prima facie evidence simply means there is sufficient evidence to presume the statement to be true.
The Affidavit must be signed, executed, and filed with the county deed records where real property of the individual who has died is located. If you are determined to be an heir of someone who has passed, it means you have a legal right to receive money, property, or possessions from that individual, who is often referred to as the decedent. Typically, heirs include children, descendants, or other relatives of the decedent.
When someone dies and does not leave a will behind, individuals like these might need to open a probate court case in order for the estate to be legally passed to them. An Affidavit of Heirship is an alternate way to handle this situation, and those dealing with these cases might find them to be more efficient and less costly. If you fall under the following criteria, you might be eligible to use an Affidavit of Heirship:
- The decedent in question has died without leaving a will behind.
- You can be identified as the decedent’s lawful heir.
- Your goal is to have possession of the decedent’s estate without going through the probate process.
- The decedent’s heirs agree about the best way to distribute the estate.
- There is a trusted third party involved who can confirm rights to the decedent’s estate.
If the situation above sounds like you and you would like to file an Affidavit of Heirship in Georgetown, the lawyers at Rainey & Rainey, Attorneys at Law, LP can help you through the process. Please be prepared to present the details about the decedent in question, such as their name, address, date and place of death, marital history, and family members. Find an example of an Affidavit of Heirship provided by the U.S. Department of Justice here.
What Does Heir-at-Law Mean Legally?
If you are entitled to inherit from an individual who has died and has not left a lest will and testament or other estate plans, you are an heir-at-law. Whether or not you qualify to be an heir-at-law can change based on the location of the decedent’s death and what they owned. Your rights in this case will be determined in an order called “intestate succession.” The more closely you were related to the decedent, the more likely it is that you will be considered an heir-at-law.
Another situation in which it can be advantageous to be determined an heir-at-law is when a decedent leaves a will, but omits someone who would have inherited if they had died intestate. In these cases, the individual who believes they should have been included in the will has “standing” to contest the will in court. In order to do this, you must have financial stake in the estate and you would have to determine that the decedent did not make this omission intentionally.
As you might have gathered, these cases are delicate matters and they can be especially difficult to navigate when you are already mourning the loss of a loved one. The heirship lawyers at Rainey & Rainey, Attorneys at Law, LP, will keep your best interest in mind as we diligently work to defend you. Our goal is to help you plan today and ensure tomorrow, and we have a high level of experience in managing these types of cases.
If you would like to determine heirship in Georgetown, Texas and are not sure where to turn, look no further than the team at Rainey & Rainey, Attorneys at Law, LP. Call us at (254) 826-8151 or contact us onlineto find out how we can provide legal help.