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West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship

An affidavit of heirship establishes the lawful heirs of a decedent's estate when he or she dies intestate (without a will).

When recorded in the land records where the real property described within is located, the affidavit provides a record of the change in ownership and succession in interest of the within-described assets to the decedent's heir(s). The affidavit is not to be used when a will is probated or a proceeding for the administration of the decedent's estate has been opened.

While anyone can file an affidavit of heirship, the affiant, the person making the sworn statements contained in the affidavit, must have knowledge of the decedent's marital history and family tree in order to complete the affidavit accurately.

The instrument establishes the decedent's martial status at the time of death and whether the decedent left descendants (children, whether natural or adopted, and the children of any deceased child).

In West Virginia, interest in real property from a decedent's estate that does not transfer outside of probate (i.e., property not held with a survivorship designation) transfers by the laws of descent codified at W. Va. Code 42-1).

In general, the surviving spouse inherits a decedent's property. If the decedent has no surviving spouse, his descendants (children) inherit the property. A grandchild inherits the share of a deceased parent, if applicable. If the decedent has neither a surviving spouse nor descendants, his or her parents inherit the property. In the event there are no surviving parents, the decedent's siblings inherit. Always consult a lawyer with questions about intestate succession, as each situation is unique, and the law is complex.

In addition to establishing the decedent's heirs at law, the affidavit also describes all the real and personal property left by the decedent. The affiant must sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public. Before recording with the land records of the county where the subject property is situated, ensure that the instrument meets standards of form and content for recorded documents in West Virginia.

Consult a lawyer with questions about intestate succession or affidavits of heirship in West Virginia.

Deeds.com West Virginia Affidavit of Heirship Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Friday November 12, 2021

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