An affidavit of heirship is a mechanism that may allow the transfer of the assets of a decedent without having to go through the probate process. An affidavit of hardship is generally employed where the decedent died with no debts other than those secured by real property. As such, it is considered by many Fort Bend County probate lawyers to be a less expensive and quicker alternative to a judicial determination of hardship proceeding.
An important difference between the two is that although the affidavit of heirship proceeding is a streamlined one, it does not carry the weight of the judicial determination of heirship. As a practical matter, this means that although the determination of heirship is effective as of the date the court signs the judgment, the affidavit of heirship does not become prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein until five years from the time it was properly recorded.
By the provisions of the Texas Probate Code, the affidavit of heirship must be signed by two disinterested witnesses. This means the witnesses must be unrelated, or if the witnesses are related, they must not be heirs. Essentially, the witnesses must not have any financial interest in the estate. Other information required in the affidavit includes statements indicating when the decedent died, who the family members and heirs are, and that no debts were owed at the time of death. All these statements must be sworn to by the witnesses before a notary public.
Not withstanding the five year statutory time frame, once an affidavit of heirship is recorded, an experienced Fort Bend County probate attorney may assist you, as an heir, in the process of selling the property in a timely manner.
For legal assistance with your probate matters, do not hesitate to contact Fort Bend County probate attorney Paul Romano for a free initial consultation.
Call us at 281 242-0995 or contact our Houston law offices.