It’s common for individuals who own real estate to procrastinate estate planning. Too frequently, individuals procrastinate too long and end up passing away with no plan in place for their real estate. The result: legal confusion.
One family comes to mind. The wife had real estate that was only in her name. When she passed away, her husband desired to continue living on the property, but he ran into issues with his step-children who wanted to sell the property and collect a nice check for their share. The dispute escalated, lawyers were hired, and filings were made with the probate court. This was going to turn into an expensive, time-consuming, and messing legal fight.
Yet, there was an alternative to probate that none of the heirs knew about called an Affidavit of Heirship. A Missouri Affidavit of Heirship can be used to transfer property from a deceased individual to that individual’s heirs (as defined by Missouri law), without going to probate court. In order to use a Missouri Affidavit of Heirship, all of the heirs will need to agree on how to divide the property. Missouri law is clear on intestate succession so typically the parties will agree to follow the letter of the law.
If you have questions about how to handle real estate that is still titled into a deceased person’s name, after their own death, follow this checklist to see if an Affidavit or Heirship is right for you. Missouri Affidavit of Heirships can be powerful tools to avoid having property stuck in the name of a deceased loved one.
- 1. Was the real estate only in the name of the deceased individual?
- 2. Has the deceased individual been dead more than 1 year?
- 3. No will has been admitted to probate?
- 4. Did the deceased individual leave a last will and testament?
- 5. All of the legal heirs are in agreement and willing to cooperate?
A Missouri Affidavit of Heirship needs to be properly drafted, signed, notarized and filed with the county recorder’s office. Once complete, the heirs can receive clear title on the land. This is important so if the heirs decide to sell the land, they can get full fair market value since the potential buyer can obtain title insurance.
If you have property title in a deceased individuals name and need help getting it transferred to living heirs or getting it sold, contact Mark McMullin, a Missouri attorney with experience you can trust.