Facts about the Affidavit of Death template

What is an Affidavit of Death?

An Affidavit of Death is a sworn, legal statement of an individual’s death. Typically, it’s used in random with a death certificate to officially notify interested parties — such as the court, an insurance company or a bank — that the individual in question has passed away. This is done in the interest of wrapping up any legal and/or financial loose ends after someone passes away. When an individual dies, the items, interests and obligations left behind are bundled together as his or her estate. The deceased may have designated who should receive parts of the estate; he or she may not have made such assignments. Regardless, the estate must be settled. An Affidavit of Death helps expedite the process and reduce the potential for argument or litigation. For example, after your spouse dies, you may need an Affidavit of Death to transfer shared property into your name, take your spouse’s name off of your joint bank accounts or show that you’re eligible to receive your spouse’s pension, 401K or other retirement benefits. The transfer of inherited property is the most common situation that requires the use of an Affidavit of Death. An Affidavit of Death may also be known by a variety of other names:

  • Affidavit of Death and Heirship
  • Affidavit of Death of Spouse
  • Affidavit of Death of Grantor
  • Affidavit of Death of Trustee
  • Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant
  • Affidavit of Death Intestate

What is an Affidavit of Death used for?

Generally speaking, an Affidavit of Death is used to deliver assets to beneficiaries and/or help them assume legal ownership of inherited property. More specifically, it may be used to:

  • Close the deceased’s checking accounts, credit cards and other financial accounts
  • Collect the money in the deceased’s bank accounts
  • Resolve other debts, claims and interests left behind by the deceased
  • Notify a title company that you’re now the sole owner of a property and the title should be changed accordingly
  • Establish that you’re now the sole owner of property in a living trust
  • Show that you’re eligible to receive the deceased’s retirement benefits
  • Demonstrate eligibility to collect a life insurance policy
  • Identify and establish yourself as a rightful heir to the deceased’s estate if he or she died without a will in place

Why should you use an Affidavit of Death?

Using an Affidavit of Death allows you to settle the deceased’s affairs promptly and with minimal hassle. It also reduces the chance of fraud. Forego the form, and you may be unable to close out the estate. For example, you may be prevented from collecting retirement benefits and life insurance proceeds or accessing safe deposit boxes. You may be denied funds held in the deceased’s checking and savings accounts. Without an Affidavit of Death, you may not even be able to close the deceased’s accounts.
Skipping the affidavit may also stop you from selling any real estate or other property for which the deceased party is listed as an owner or from transferring it to its legal heir(s).

How to write an Affidavit of Death?

There are seven pieces of information that an Affidavit of Death must include:

  • The name of the deceased party, known as the decedent
  • The decedent’s birth and death dates
  • Confirmation that the affiant, a.k.a. the person signing the affidavit, is a legal adult
  • The location of the signing
  • The affiant’s name and address
  • A sworn statement as to the veracity of the affidavit as a whole
  • The signature and stamp of a notary public

An Affidavit of Death may also require other information that pertains to the document’s specific purpose. If property is involved, for instance, such as the transfer of an automobile, real estate or personal effects, details of said property may need to be provided.

How To Fill Out an Affidavit of Death with PDFSimpli in Five Steps

  • 1: Preparation

    Before you fill out the affidavit, take a good look at it. This will help you determine what information you need to successfully fill it out, especially if property is involved. Round up the required details, including the decedent’s birth and death dates, as well as his or her full, legal name.

  • 2: Choosing a Software

    Do not rely on a word processor or standard PDF program to draft your agreement. Instead, leave the job to reputable software like PDFSimpli. What makes the software stand out is you can easily create, edit, save and sign your contract all with a single program. PDFSimpli offers users access to all tools during their trial period. Get started by selecting a contract template that meets your needs. In minutes, you can have a completed document.

  • 3: Fill Out or Edit the Affidavit of Death

    PDFSimpli makes filling out an Affidavit of Death easy. The parts that require your input or editing are in blue. If you need to include additional information, you can do so manually. Our online form also supports electronic signatures.

  • 4: Review

    Before you print out your affidavit to take it to a notary public, make sure you review your information for accuracy, including spelling.

  • 5: Save, Download, Print or Send for E-Signature

    When your form is finished and thoroughly proofread, save it one last time. Next, download a copy for your records. Finally, print a copy that you can take to a nearby notary public. (Be advised that he or she will ask for proof of identification.) If you’re unsure about where to locate a notary, perform a quick online search. Additionally, many banks, libraries, copy shops and shipping stores such as FedEx Office and The UPS Store have notaries on staff.

Affidavit of Death Frequently Asked Questions

No. It’s important to note that when property transfers from the deceased to his or her heir, everything else involved with that property becomes the heir’s responsibility, too. For example, if your grandfather leaves you his lake house, he’s also leaving you any obligations or debts related to it, such as its utility bills, yet-to-be-discovered mold or leaky roof. Because the title transfers without warranty, you’re also on the hook for any future claims made against it. For these reasons, as well as others, an heir may renounce his or her claim to an inheritance.

When someone dies without a legal will, he or she has “died intestate.” When this happens, the individual’s estate must go through probate court. Laws governing this process vary from state to state, and if an individual held property in multiple states — such as a vacation property in a different state from the primary residence — the estate has to go through probate in each state. You can use an Affidavit of Death Intestate to claim that you are a rightful heir to the decedent’s post-probate estate.

Yes. Transfer on Death is a designation made in an individual’s will that declares who receives what in the event of that individual’s death. By planning ahead like this, beneficiaries can bypass the probate process. They can also plan ahead. For example, if the eventual transfer of real estate is involved, the beneficiary can begin budgeting for future expenses such as property taxes. A Transfer on Death assignment does not negate the need for an Affidavit of Death, however, as the proper authorities will still need to be formally notified of the death.