Affidavit of Death: What You Need to Know
Why Do You Need an Affidavit of Death?
When a person dies, the only legal entity informed of the death is the US government. All other institutions, like banks, insurance companies, and businesses, must be informed of the death in a timely manner by someone who is legally permitted to act on behalf of the deceased. An affidavit of death establishes who this person is and allows them to go about this business with just one document.
Without an affidavit of death, you would need to present a death certificate to every institution involved with the deceased’s estate and then go through a long and tedious process to prove your identity and your right to access any bank accounts, insurance claims, or property of the deceased.
It is important to have an affidavit of death so you can quickly transition the estate of the deceased in the way that they would have wanted.
NOTE: It is especially important to create an affidavit of death if the deceased did not leave a last will and testament.
When do You Need an Affidavit of Death?
An affidavit of death will help you resolve the affairs of the deceased and transfer their estate, including any property, to their heirs or beneficiaries. But the method of doing this is not always the same. An affidavit of death is necessary for the following situations:
- You share property with the deceased: Also known as joint tenancy, if you share property with the deceased, you will need an affidavit of death to have any title or deed changed to name you the sole owner or to make any other alterations.
- You held property in a trust with the deceased: If you and the deceased held property in a trust as co-trustors, you will need to present an affidavit of death before any property can be released to you.
- The deceased was your spouse: Spouses often share financial accounts, property, insurance claims, and more. An affidavit of death is necessary to transfer all of your joint belongings to your name, close out bank accounts, alter insurance information, and claim retirement benefits, among many other things.
- The deceased did not leave a will: If you believe you have a right to inherit the estate of a deceased person, you need an affidavit of death interstate to make your claim. Once you submit the affidavit, your state will decide whether you are entitled to become a beneficiary based on its probate laws.
- You are to inherit something from the deceased: If you were left money or property by the deceased, you will need an affidavit of death in order to transfer your inheritance from the account or estate of the deceased to your own.
- You need to identify the deceased’s heir: If the deceased’s heir is not a direct relative or would not otherwise inherit the estate of the deceased based on the law, an affidavit death heirship can be signed by a third party in order to name an heir.
- The deceased has unpaid debts: Creditors will continue to send payments and charge interest to the deceased as if they were a living person unless an affidavit of death is received.
- The deceased held life insurance: Life insurance benefits will not be released until an affidavit of death is presented to the insurance company.
There’s no need to make these tasks more stressful or painful than they already are. With the one-click form filling service at online-application.org, you can avoid the bureaucracy and manage all of the deceased’s affairs simply, quickly, and with just one document.