Heirs At Law

Heirs At Law: Overview

When a person dies intestate (without a will), all real property passes by intestate succession to the decedentís heirs at law. To establish marketable title, a judicial determination naming the heirs at law must be obtained. While this proceeding is time consuming, the Company is afforded protection from an omitted heir when it relies on a final judgment determining heir ship. When a deed from the heirs at law appears in the chain of title, it should be supported by a recorded decree of heir ship identifying the same heirs who signed the deed. Under limited circumstances an affidavit may be acceptable to the company to show that those named as grantors were, in fact, all the heirs of the decedent. Agents National Title underwriting counsel must approve acceptance of an heir ship affidavit. If no judicial determination of heir ship or approved affidavit from grantor/heirs is obtained, an exception to title as to the rights of possible undisclosed heirs must be made. 


NOTE: Notwithstanding local practices and customs which include acceptance of affidavits of heir ship in lieu of a judicial heir ship determination, only on very rare, exceptional occasions will Agents National Title underwriting counsel approve acceptance of an affidavit of heir ship. Such affidavits may not be relied upon to vest title in a current seller or borrower. Judicial determination of heir ship by a final, nonappealable court order of competent jurisdiction is always required to vest title unless expressly waived by Agents National Title underwriting counsel.