Determination of Heirship Proceedings

The Proceeding to Determine Heirship occurs when a person who owned property dies without a will and there is no administration of his or her estate. Heirship Determination amends land titles when nothing else needs to be done in the estate.

Heirship Determination is not used when someone must arbitrate the collection of assets, pay creditors, and allocate property among heirs. The conclusion of Heirship Determination Proceedings is to make the rightful heirs the full owners of the decedent’s property.

Determination of Heirship Proceedings are started once an application is filled out in the county where the decedent lived or where he or she owned property. This Heirship application must contain the Affidavit of Heirship of each applicant. All rightful heirs must receive a notice of the Heirship Determination Proceeding.

The heirs then sign the Heirship application as applicants. The Court requires you alert anyone who may also claim to be an heir by posting a notice at the courthouse. The applicant must also post a notice in the local newspaper. An attorney ad litem will be appointed by the court to see if any other heirs are unknown and were not served with the Heirship application.

A Determination of Heirship hearing will be scheduled in the Court before the judge. Two witnesses must testify regarding the family history of the decedent. The witnesses must not stand to inherit from the decedent’s estate. The witnesses will then sign an oath declaring their statements truth.

The judge will then sign the order declaring Heirship to the estate of the deceased. At this time, the heirs must file the order determining Heirship in the county deed records where the decedent owned property. The heirs will then be the owners of the property.

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