An affidavit of death refers to a sworn statement made by a person who possesses personal knowledge about another person’s death. This document is an official declaration of that person’s death. Often, the affidavit of death form comes with a certified death certificate. There are several specific reasons for creating this document like transferring of a title, removing the name of the deceased from a title, and more.
Affidavit Of Death Forms
What is an affidavit of death?
An affidavit of death is a document which bears the signature of a family member, a relative or someone who had a close relationship to the deceased. The document contains a statement which claims that the deceased person is the same person as the one in the title of a property.
This affidavit appears in the public records with the deceased person’s death certificate at the time when the property’s sale gets consummated. But the family of the deceased may file the affidavit of death form along with the death certificate.
When do you need an affidavit of death?
After a person dies, someone needs to take care of his estate and all other legal affairs. An affidavit of death is the best type of legal document which legally proves that a person has passed away. People require this type of affidavit for different circumstances, most of which involve the distribution and transfer of property including:
- The authority to close an account;
- The ability to pass a property title from the deceased person to his heirs; and
- The accomplishment of other tasks if the deceased person has a debt or an interest.
Among all the reasons for needing this document, the most common include transferring property from the deceased person to his heirs through different means. Consider these situations:
- Joint Tenancy
Often, married couples own properties in “joint tenancy.” This means that when one of the spouses dies, the other ends up becoming the property’s sole owner. An affidavit of death form of joint tenant gives the surviving spouse the ability to file a notice with the property assessor of the county and the title company.
After creating this affidavit and submitting it, the title gets changed in such a way that the ownership only reflects the name of the spouse who survived. This is one of the most important reasons for creating the affidavits because you can’t transfer a home without obtaining the consent from all of the title owners.
When married couples create a living trust together, they’re considered “co-trustors.” If one of them dies, any property and assets in the trust get transferred to the surviving spouse. Therefore, the surviving spouse becomes the sole owner of the property and the assets in the living trust.
An affidavit of death of trustee is important in this scenario. The document establishes the trustee’s death. The affidavit of death of trustee helps with the transfer of the property and assets to the beneficiaries of the trust.
- Death of Spouse
There are some cases where married couples need to prepare an affidavit that’s death-related. An affidavit of death of spouse permits the surviving spouse to remove the name of her deceased spouse from any joint bank accounts, credit cards, and others.
This document also allows the surviving spouse to transfer funds from their joint account to an account that’s solely owned by the surviving, lawful spouse. But in some states, you have to follow the community property laws. These laws state that all property owned by a married couple belongs to both of them equally.
In a couple of the community property states, the rights of survivorship govern the community property. In these states, the affidavit transfers the titles of all the couples community to the surviving spouse implicitly and directly. Also, the affidavit serves as proof of eligibility for the retirement benefits of the surviving spouse.
- Death of Grantor
In some states, they permit “Transfer of Death.” For instance, the deceased may own a savings or checking account solely. Some states have laws wherein the account holder may assign someone to receive the money in his account in the event that he dies and this provision is the transfer of death. In such a situation, the affidavit of death of grantor transfers the assets to the assigned person.
- Death Intestate
When a person dies “intestate,” this means that he has passed away without creating a will. Each of the states has its own laws of “intestacy” which specify how the property gets distributed and this is usually based on kinship. In most of the states, when a single person who doesn’t have children passes away, his assets go to his patents.
If both parents are still living, the assets get divided between them. If the parents are both deceased, then the person’s assets are equally distributed to his siblings. No matter what the case is, the affidavit of death allows the legal transfer of the assets to the rightful heirs.
Each of the states has its own requirements in terms of the documents needed to transfer the titles of assets and properties. For instance, the state of Arizona requires a “non-probate” affidavit for those who want to obtain the title of a vehicle belonging to a citizen of the state.
- Affidavit of Heirship
This affidavit is a lot like the affidavit of death intestate, and it’s used in many states for people who have died without creating a will. Although some states permit individuals to identify themselves as a deceased person’s heir, there are some states which require a third party to identify the person’s potential heirs.
A disinterested third party must be the one to create the affidavit of heirship. This person must have personal knowledge of the deceased, his parents, his spouse, his children, and other potential heirs.
- Other Uses
Sometimes, you can also use an affidavit of death as a notification for a creditor. Also, you may use it in cases where agencies request for an official document which establishes the person’s death.
Affidavit Of Death Of Trustee
How to fill out affidavit of death of joint tenant?
No matter what type of affidavit you plan to create, make sure to include all of the relevant information. In some cases, all you have to do is to fill out an affidavit of death form of joint tenant. Here are some steps to help you out:
- First, write your name then the name of your deceased spouse.
- Attach a certified copy of your deceased spouse’s death certificate.
- Include a statement which certifies that the deceased mentioned in the death certificate is the same person whose name appears on the titles of the property and the other assets.
- Include the date of the document and the complete legal description of the property.
How to approach the grieving family when you chase for an affidavit of death?
If you’re not directly related to the deceased person but you need to create an affidavit of death for specific reasons, there are acceptable ways to do this. Certain companies may face this type of situation. Remember that the loved ones of the deceased are currently experiencing grief and other negative feelings. Therefore, you must approach them in an appropriate way. Here are some suggestions:
- Try distributing appropriate items
The best types of items to distribute are tissue boxes which bear the logo and name of your company. For instance, while at the church or the venue of the wake, you may try to casually distribute tissue boxes (or similar items) to random people as a casual yet dignified way to introduce yourself and your company.
Make sure to include the name of your company, your website, and contact details on the items. Use a simple font and distribute these items quietly throughout the service.
- Casually mingle with the family or the other guests
One of the best ways to do this is at the line for food. For instance, if there is a funeral service or some other type of affair, you can mingle with the guests and the family members while getting food from the table.
Try starting the conversation by making a casual statement such as “A lot of people have trouble creating an affidavit of death, especially when it’s their first time to do this. Have you thought of this already?” If the person you talk to doesn’t show interest, then move on to another one of the family members or guests. Never push the issue, especially if the person seems extremely grief stricken.
- Only approach the family members and other loved ones when you think it’s appropriate
There are several creative ways you can introduce your services or the services of your company with regards to creating an affidavit of death. The important thing is to find the right place and the right time to do so. Remember that a death in the family is a very sensitive and emotional time.
Whether you’re a lawyer, a consultant or others, you must never push the people grieving over the deceased. Instead, learn how to approach them in the proper way wherein you also tell them the importance of the affidavit and how you can help them create the document for different purposes.