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What is a Texas Affidavit of Heirship?

An affidavit of heirship can be a useful tool for heirs who want to avoid the time and expense of the probate process, as well as protect their rights and ensure a smooth transfer of property.

It is usually only used when the estate consists of real estate–not bank or other financial accounts–and the decedent died without a will.

Creating an affidavit of heirship requires careful attention to the requirements set out in Texas law, including specific information about the decedent’s family and marital history, property, and debts.

If there is a dispute over the affidavit, a judicial heirship proceeding may be necessary to determine who the legal heirs of the estate are. Overall, an affidavit of heirship can provide peace of mind and legal protection for heirs of a Texas estate.

What is an Affidavit of Heirship?

An affidavit of heirship is a document that is used to prove who the rightful heirs to an estate are.

This document can be used to probate an estate and evidence the transfer of ownership of the estate assets to the persons who are listed in the affidavit.

An affidavit of heirship must be certified by a notary public or other official authorized to certify documents. The notary public will usually charge a fee for this service.

The affidavit can be used to transfer assets like real estate, but many assets cannot be transferred using the affidavit. For example, an affidavit cannot be used when there is a will. The will can be probated using the muniment of title process, which is a shorter version of probate.

Also, there are some assets that cannot be transferred using an affidavit. For example, bank and financial accounts cannot be transferred using this affidavit. A probate is usually needed if there are bank or financial accounts that one cannot access.

Benefits of an Affidavit of Heirship?

One key benefit of the affidavit of heirship is that it can help avoid the probate process. Probate is a legal process that is required to transfer ownership of assets from a deceased person to their beneficiaries or heirs. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, and it can tie up assets for months or even years.

By contrast, an affidavit of heirship can provide a faster, simpler alternative to probate. It allows heirs to establish their right to an inheritance without going through the formal court process. This can save time and money for all parties involved, and can help the estate be settled more quickly.

Another benefit of an affidavit of heirship is that it can help protect your rights as an heir. Without a formal document outlining your relationship to the deceased, it can be more difficult to prove your right to an inheritance. An affidavit of heirship can provide evidence of your relationship to the deceased and your right to an inheritance.

Finally, an affidavit of heirship can provide peace of mind for the heirs and the family of the deceased. It can help to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are respected, and that the distribution of assets is handled smoothly and fairly. It can also help to prevent disputes and disagreements among family members, which can be especially important during an already difficult time.

How to Create an Affidavit of Heirship

If you are an heir to an estate with property in Texas, creating an affidavit of heirship can be a smooth process with a bit of preparation.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Gather all relevant documentation, such as deeds, wills, or guardianship papers, that help prove who the heirs are. If possible, get copies of these documents so that you have backups if needed.
  2. Make a list of all the property you believe is part of the decedent’s estate. This includes both tangible assets like land or buildings and intangible items like intellectual property or royalties.
  3. Create the affidavit of heirship. The affidavit must include specific information such as the name and address of the affiant, the decedent’s name and date of death, marital history, and the names and addresses of the decedent’s children and siblings.
  4. Sign the affidavit of heirship in front of a notary public.
  5. Get legal help if necessary. This document is complex and can require specialized knowledge of Texas probate law to properly review and approve.

Creating an affidavit of heirship has several benefits, including avoiding probate, saving time and money, and protecting your rights. With the help of legal counsel, you can ensure that your affidavit of heirship is properly executed and can facilitate a smooth transfer of property.

Requirements for Affidavit of Heirships in Texas

The Texas Estates Code sets out the requirements for an affidavit of heirship. The statute is set up so that it provides an example language, rather than providing strict requirements. Thus, the following are points from the sample language and not requirements per se:

  1. The affiant must be a person with personal knowledge of the family and marital history of the decedent.
  2. The affidavit must include the name and address of the affiant.
  3. The affidavit must state the name of the decedent, the date and place of death, and the decedent’s residence at the time of death.
  4. The affidavit must list the decedent’s children, including their name, birth date, name of other parent, and current address, or the date of death of the child and descendants of the deceased child.
  5. If applicable, the affidavit must include information about the decedent’s spouse, parents, and siblings, including their name, birth date, current address, or date of death, as well as the parents and descendants of deceased siblings.
  6. The affidavit must state whether the decedent left a written will and whether there has been any administration of the decedent’s estate.
  7. The affidavit must state whether there are any unpaid debts, estate or inheritance taxes, and whether the decedent owned an interest in any real property.
  8. The affidavit may include additional information as appropriate, such as the size of the decedent’s estate.
  9. The affidavit must be signed and dated by the affiant in the presence of a notary public or other authorized officer.

After you have completed the affidavit of heirship, you will need to file the document with the county clerk in the county where the decedent died, and also in the county where any real estate is located. This is important because it puts the public on notice of your claim to the estate and protects your legal rights as an heir.

It is important to note that the affidavit of heirship is only filed in Texas. If the decedent owned property located outside of Texas, you will need to consult an out-of-state probate attorney for guidance on how to handle that property.

Contesting an Affidavit of Heirship

In Texas, if you wish to contest an affidavit of heirship, you can file for a judicial heirship proceeding.

A judicial heirship proceeding is a court-supervised process in which a judge determines who the legal heirs of an estate are. This process is used when there is a dispute over the heirs or when there is a question about the validity of the affidavit of heirship.

To start the judicial heirship proceeding, you will need to file a petition with the probate court in the county where the decedent died. You will need to provide evidence and documentation to support your claim of heirship. The court will then hold a hearing to determine who the legal heirs of the estate are.

You may also need to bring suit against the parties who executed the affidavit or received the decedent’s property. There are strict timelines for doing this. You have to be careful not to miss these statutes of limitations.


A Texas affidavit of heirship is a legal document that proves your ownership of property. This document will show that you are the person who is entitled to own the property and that no one else has a right to it.

Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help with your Affidavit of Heirship?

If you are the heir to a property in Texas, you might be able to file an affidavit of heirship to establish your right to inherit the property. There are a few things you need to know before filing this document. First, make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork. Second, consult with an experienced probate attorney if you have any questions about the affidavit of heirship. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation. (281) 219-9090.

Our Houston Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.


The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.

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