Affidavit of Heirship in Texas

Probate Administration Lawyers Helping Clients Throughout Houston Through the Estate Administration Process

When a Texas resident passes, state law requires that their estate pass through the probate process before any of the estate property passes on to the deceased’s heirs. If the deceased left a will, the court will appoint a personal representative to oversee the administration of the estate, eventually distributing estate assets to the heirs under the terms of the will.

However, what happens if someone dies without a will in Texas? An affidavit of heirship may allow you to bypass the probate process, provided you meet the criteria. At The Probate Law Group, our Houston probate administration lawyers have more than 30 years of combined experience efficiently guiding our clients through the estate administration process.

An affidavit of heirship in Texas can serve as a crucial legal document used to establish rightful heirs when someone passes away without a will. This sworn statement identifies heirs and their respective inheritance rights. Creating an accurate affidavit of heirship in Texas is essential to streamline the inheritance process, ensuring a smooth transition of assets to the rightful beneficiaries. Consult a legal professional for guidance on this vital document.

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    An affidavit of heirship is a legal document used in Texas to establish the legal heirs of a deceased individual, particularly when they die without a will or estate plan. This affidavit is typically filed in the county where the decedent’s property is located and includes detailed information about the decedent, their death, and their heirs. Some of the information required to complete an affidavit of heirship includes the names, addresses, and relationships of all the legal heirs, the list of the decedent’s property, and any debts the decedent had at the time of their death.

    An affidavit of heirship allows heirs to bypass the probate process entirely. However, there are strict rules governing when an affidavit of heirship is permitted. For example, you can only file an affidavit of heirship if the deceased either did not have a last will and testament or the deceased had a will, but it was not probated within four years of their death. 

    An affidavit of heirship is most commonly used to transfer ownership of real property, such as a home. While there are other assets that can be transferred through an affidavit of heirship, you cannot use it to transfer bank accounts or financial accounts. 

    Texas Estates Code §§ 203.001 and 203.002 outline the process for submitting an affidavit of heirship. These laws provide that an affidavit of heirship must be signed by a person who was familiar with the deceased, their family, and their property but is not financially interested in executing the document. For example, a neighbor or friend of the family are two common choices. 

    The person completing the affidavit must provide some background information about how they knew the deceased, the deceased’s marital and family history, how many children the deceased had, whether they died with or without a will, and whether they left any unpaid debts. Once complete, the affidavit of heirship must be signed in front of a notary. 

    There are two primary benefits to filing an affidavit of heirship. First, doing so protects your rights because once filed, an affidavit of heirship serves as proof that you are the deceased’s heir. Thus, this helps strengthen your claim to any assets that they left behind. Second, filing an affidavit of heirship is much faster and less expensive than following the traditional probate process. 

    If you are heir to an estate, but your loved one didn’t have a will, you may be able to bypass the probate process by filing an affidavit of heirship. At The Probate Law Group, our attorneys have extensive, hands-on experience helping clients navigate the estate administration process. We are familiar with the various probate avoidance strategies. To learn more and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, you can reach us at 713-574-6080 or through our online contact form.