When someone passes away and they left with no last will or testament, it makes it difficult to take care of some of the details of their lives that they left behind. If they have insurance policy, you will need to inform them about their passing, or take care of an existing car loan payment, or even their credit card debt. Or maybe you are their rightful beneficiary of their estate. In these instances, an affidavit of death can help you take care of these tasks. It’s a legal document that you formally swear that a person has passed and will let you close accounts, receive benefit claims or take ownership of properties. Read More
An Affidavit of Death is a promise made under oath that someone has passed. It is a legal document that you swear in accordance with the law of a person’s passing. It should be completed by someone with the first-hand knowledge of another person’s death, declaring that they have died. A certified true copy of the official certificate of death is often attached to this affidavit as proof of the declaration of death. Once it has been written and notarized, this legal document can be used to notify and inform insurance companies, financial institutions, businesses or any other organizations and entities relevant to the person, that they have died.
How To Write an Affidavit of Death in Five Steps
Not leaving a will and testament upon a person’s passing does not have to be hard on the people that were left behind. A simple affidavit of death should suffice in order to settle the decedent’s unfinished businesses like their updating entities and organizations handling their finances and properties. It’s a simple process, just follow these step-by-step instructions below.
Identify the purpose of the affidavit
An affidavit of death can be referred to another name, depending on its purpose. That’s why it’s important that you are clear on what the affidavit is all about. It is commonly used for transfer of the decedent’s estate to the beneficiaries and it can be done in many ways. By doing this, the information that’s needed to be included in the affidavit will be narrowed down and become clearer.
Introduce the affiant and make an oath
This affidavit must be filled out by someone, called the affiant, who must swear in accordance with the law that the decedent has already passed away and they have a legal and rightful claim to the decedent’s estate. As the affiant, they must have first-hand knowledge about the decedent’s death and will attest to it. False information can make them be liable to perjury and other criminal charges.
Provide the details about the decedent’s identity
If you are the affiant, you need to ensure that the affidavit of death has all the important information. You must be able to supply the details about the decedent’s identity with verifiable information. Include their full legal name, birthdate, civil status, and survivors, and their social security number. Aside from that, you must also include the details surrounding the decedent’s death such as the date upon which they died and where they died. Depending on the purpose of the affidavit, you may also provide detailed information regarding the decedent’s estate, assets, and properties including the value and description of any assets that you are claiming.
Review and attach a copy of the decedent’s death certificate
Once you have completed your affidavit, make a closing statement that reaffirms the veracity of the facts indicated in it. Review your affidavit carefully and revise and modify it as necessary to correct any erroneous statements and inconsistencies. Don’t bring it to a notary unless you have thoroughly checked it or have asked a trusted nonlawyer friend or family member to review it. And most importantly, do not sign the affidavit without the presence of a notary.
Bring your affidavit of death for signature and notarization
Notarized affidavit doesn’t take too long. All you need to do is bring it with you to a notary or other officials who can administer oaths. You may find a notary in the phone book or online. Although some states allow for remote notary, many states require personal appearance so they can witness you sign the document and verify your identity with a valid government-issued ID. Once notarized, your affidavit is now a valid legal document.
Is it required for a new Affidavit of Death for each business transaction that has to be settled for the decedent?
Not necessarily. Unless the establishment or entity requires a specific format, you may use your copy of the affidavit of death for the decedent. It is advised that you have multiple original or certified true copies of the affidavit to avoid going through the process of writing again.
Does an affidavit of death guarantee the claimant or beneficiary of the decedent’s estate?
No. The affidavit of death is used to declare that the decedent has died and legally inform businesses, establishments, entities, and organizations of the decedent’s passing. It does inheritance and claims are matters of state law, so make sure that prior to making a claim to the decedent’s estate and properties, the affiant should make sure that said assets have been properly recorded and probated by the local court.
What happens if there is no affidavit of death presented?
Without the affidavit of death, the affiant or claimant may not be allowed to settle and act on behalf of the decedent in certain situations such as:
Selling of property owned by the decedent
Closing bank accounts
Transfer of decedent’s estate to lawful beneficiaries
Transfer of all of the decedent’s proceeds to surviving beneficiaries
In cases where the decedent was not able to leave behind a will and testament before passing, rightful heirs or beneficiaries have to create an affidavit of death to be able to act on the decedent’s behalf. It is an important document to be able to settle the decedent’s business as most institutions and establishments require this affidavit to prevent fraud. Failure to provide an affidavit of death will not enable you to do business for the decedent’s estate and affairs.