A West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship is a simple form used to transfer property instead of going through probate when a person dies without a will. The West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship is the instrument of choice when all heirs agree to not probate the will.
In most situations, the surviving spouse or children compose the affidavit to establish ownership of the community property owned by the deceased as long as the deceased’s children are the children of the surviving spouse and the property is not valued at an amount greater than the limits set by West Virginia state law.
The West Virginia Heirship Affidavit is used by a local court in West Virginia to establish ownership of all personal and real property not identified by a will. A West Virginia Heirship Affidavit is recorded in official land records in the local county office.
How to Use an Affidavit of Heirship in West Virginia
The Heirship process in West Virginia does not have to be initiated right after the passing of the decedent, however, it must be started within a few years after the person died. There must be no will and there must be no need for administration of the deceased’s estate.
The determination of Heirship proceedings in West Virginia must be started in the county where the deceased lived, or in a county where the property of the deceased is located. If the decedent did not own any real property, then the proceedings may be started in the county where the decedent had personal property.
Who do I get to Witness a West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship
The person witnessing the affidavit should not be an heir, related to the deceased or have any interest in the estate. When utilizing an Affidavit of Heirship in West Virginia, the witnesses must swear to the following conditions:
- They knew the decedent.
- The decedent did not owe any debts.
- The true identity of the family members and heirs.
- The person died on a certain date in a certain place.
- The witness will not gain financially from the estate.
So, you can’t just grab a stranger on the street to witness a West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship, he or she must be disinterested in the estate. Afterwards, the West Virginia Heirship Affidavit must be signed by a notary public in the presence of the witnesses.
West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship Example
An Affidavit of Heirship in West Virginia is used to expressly state the heirs of a deceased person. It is used to verify ownership of personal and real property. It is then recorded in official West Virginia land records to establish ownership.
The following is a simple example of how to use a West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship:
A decedent passes away without a will in West Virginia. The decedent has only one heir and owns a small parcel of real property. If the heir decides to sell the property, the heir obtains a West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship to record the deed to the estate. The witnesses of the Affidavit of Heirship in West Virginia should not be an heir of the deceased or someone interested in the estate. The West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship must then be signed by a notary public. The heir now legally owns and can sell the property.
A West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship is a straightforward form that can be filled out quickly to transfer ownership of property to the heirs of a deceased person.