An affidavit of domicile (or notarized affidavit of domicile) is a legal document used after someone has died to establish their primary place of residence. It is often created and sworn by the executor of the deceased’s estate and required by financial brokers to transfer securities ownership from the deceased to their new beneficiaries.
Consequences of Not Having an Affidavit of Domicile
Potential consequences of not having an affidavit of domicile include:
- Difficulty in transferring assets: Ownership of the securities cannot be transferred to the appropriate beneficiary. The beneficiary cannot cash them for the proceeds deposited into the estate account.
- Delay in estate administration: The deceased person’s estate distribution to the beneficiaries may be delayed, potentially leading to lawsuits.
- Disputes among beneficiaries: It may be more difficult to establish the decedent’s intended jurisdiction for estate distribution, potentially leading to disagreements among heirs and prolonged legal proceedings.
What to Include
In situations where the deceased had more than one home, their domicile is where they have voted and paid taxes. To their knowledge, affidavits of domicile must be signed before a notary public, and the executor or affiant signing the affidavit of domicile must swear that its information is accurate. The most common terms that should be included are:
- Deceased: The person who has died.
- Estate: The real and personal property of the deceased.
- The executor of the estate: The person identified and appointed in the will to manage the settlement of the deceased’s debts and the distribution of the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. This person may also be referred to as the executor of the will.
- Beneficiaries: The people identified in the will to receive assets from the estate.
- Probate court: The state court with jurisdiction to oversee the execution of the will.
- Jurisdiction: The legal authority of a court to settle matters brought before it.
- Domicile: Where the deceased lived, voted, and paid taxes. It is most often their home or primary residence.
- Estate account: An account opened by the estate’s executor after a person has died. The account pays estate debts and deposits funds from selling estate assets and related transactions.
- Stocks and securities: Documents representing an ownership percentage in a publicly traded company.
- Financial broker: A person who manages the purchase and sale of securities.
- Instructions: Process for the transfer or cashing of securities.
When the decedent was a minor, mentally incompetent, residing in a nursing home, or otherwise lacking legal capacity, completing an affidavit of domicile can be more complicated, and expert advice may be needed.
When to Need an Affidavit of Domicile
For transfer of securities: An affidavit of domicile is needed when you are appointed as the executor of an estate and need to transfer the deceased’s securities to their beneficiaries. A financial broker requires this document to confirm the deceased person’s residence to determine which state’s estate and inheritance taxes will be assessed against these assets.
For security accounts: A separate affidavit of domicile is required for each security account. For example, if someone owned shares of stock in one company, only one affidavit is required. If they owned stock in five different companies, five affidavits of domicile are required to transfer these shares.
How to Write
If you want to know how to fill out an affidavit of domicile, follow the steps below to ensure the document is valid.
Step 1 – Provide Affiant Information
When writing an affidavit of domicile, you must first provide details about the person creating the affidavit. Include your name and your role in the estate:
Step 2 – Provide Decedent Information
The decedent refers to the deceased individual you are writing an affidavit about. You should fill in the following information:
- Decedent Name
- Date of death
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Length of residence
Step 3 – Add in the Final Details
Once you have filled in the above, choose the state whose laws will determine how the agreement is interpreted in case of a dispute.
Step 4 – Notarize the Document
Having the affidavit notarized will help verify the authenticity of the affidavit should there be a dispute down the line.
Affidavit of Domicile Sample
Below is an example of an affidavit of domicile. You can download our free template in PDF or Word format.