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Affidavit of Heirship

When to use Affidavit of Heirship

More often than one might imagine, Americans die without first putting a legally enforceable estate plan in place. Therefore, the process of navigating an estate that is not governed by a will is a fairly common practice. Each state has its own policies and procedures that its courts follow in the event that someone dies without first having created a legally enforceable estate plan. In many cases, it can be beneficial for the close family members of a deceased loved one to submit an affidavit of heirship to the court before or during the probate process.


If you need to alert a probate court to the fact that you are a lawful heir of a deceased person, submitting an affidavit of heirship can help you to achieve this important and time-sensitive goal. Similarly, if you and your family are trying to avoid the probate process altogether, submitting this form may help you to achieve that aim, depending on your family’s unique circumstances and your state’s estate-related laws.

You may submit an affidavit of heirship regardless of whether you and any other lawful heirs have come to an agreement concerning the management and the distribution of your loved one’s estate. If you are in agreement about the management of the estate, submitting an accurate sworn statement can help you to speed up the process and potentially avoid probate. If you are not in agreement, your statement will serve as notice to the court that you are a lawful heir of the deceased. But as each state has its own policies related to this specific document, it may be a good idea to consult an attorney with any questions you may have before filing this document formally.

Alternative Names

Declaration of Heirship
Heirship Affidavit