If you are a joint tenant of real property and your co-tenant passes away, it can lead to some difficult decisions. From funeral arrangements to end-of-life payments, there are many steps you need to take to ensure a smooth transition. In addition to ownership complications, joint tenants generally have rights of survivorship under the property title and the names attached to it.
Asserting those rights and absorbing the decedent’s share of the property will probably require you to file an affidavit of survivorship. In this affidavit, you will formalize the survivorship process and eliminate the decedent’s interest in the property.
An affidavit of survivorship is a legal document sworn under oath by the surviving owner of jointly owned property stating that they have survivorship rights. The statements on the form itself are brief and contain only the decedent’s details and the affiant’s joint ownership of the property, as well as an affirmation.
The right of survivorship is designed to be activated automatically upon the death of the deceased. But a court may order an affidavit of survivorship in cases where the records are unclear or missing as to the joint ownership.
Affidavits of survivorship may also be called the following, depending on your state:
You can use an affidavit of survivorship if you are already listed as a co-owner on the prior deed or inherited an interest in the property by way of a life estate, transfer-on-death or Lady Bird deed.
Documents known as affidavits of survivorship remove deceased owners from title to real estate by recording the person’s death in land records.
In an affidavit of survivorship, third parties — including title companies, lenders and property tax officials — are notified that an owner has passed away and that the survivor now owns the property without that owner. There are two situations when this form can be used:
An affidavit of survivorship may also be called a survivorship affidavit, affidavit of surviving joint tenant, affidavit of surviving spouse or affidavit of continuous marriage. Each of these terms refers to the same document.
Removing a deceased owner from the title of real estate will clear up property tax records and allow the new owners to take care of the property.
An affidavit of survivorship may be used to avoid probate if a deceased owner was the only owner of the property. If the deceased owner was the sole owner, then probate or an alternative to probate will likely be required. An affidavit of survivorship may be used if the property was owned by a surviving spouse or other co-owner.
You’ll need the following information on hand when creating your document:
Ensure that everything is true and accurate. The affiant must swear an oath and attest to the affidavit’s truthfulness.
You will need to download our printable Affidavit of Survivorship template and open it in either Word or PDF format. Below you will find the free version of the Affidavit of Survivorship contract template. You may wish to consult with an attorney if you have any questions about your local state’s laws.
Provide information about the deceased and introduce the affiant. Once all pertinent information has been recorded, introduce the surviving joint tenant as the affiant. You should include all biographical and verifiable details, such as their full legal name, their age, their current address, and their relationship to the deceased. The deceased person’s full legal name, date of death, and permanent residence before death should also be included.
In the affidavit of survivorship, you must include all property details as well as all governing state and execution details. Property details are one of the most essential details to include. A detailed description of a real estate property, including its location, current condition, outstanding taxes and liens.
Once you have provided all the above information, include this part of your affidavit of survivorship after asserting full ownership and eliminating the decedent’s interest. You must declare the passing of the property’s co-owner in this section and claim full ownership under the joint tenancy agreement. To avoid probate and invoke your survivorship rights, it is crucial that you include this part.
Affidavits of survivorship and attachments need to be filed. Once you have drafted your affidavit, you should attach other documents (as needed) and notarize them. Sign your final draft in front of a public notary to verify your identity. You can file your survivorship claim in court once the affidavit has been signed and stamped with their seal.
For your records, keep an executed copy of the affidavit of survivorship form once it has been signed. Make sure every surviving joint tenant who did not participate in the affidavit’s execution receives a signed copy. Transfers of land lots, for example, should be filed with the county clerk where the land is located in the case of a transfer. Detailed information about filing requirements can be obtained from your county clerk.
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