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What is an Affidavit of Domicile?
An affidavit of domicile is a legal document that legally verifies where a decedent lives. After person’s death, it may be necessary for relatives to establish the decedent’s primary place of residence for inheritance and the probate process. This document is usually required if the decedent owned stocks and securities.
To be legally valid, an affidavit of domicile requires that the person signing the document swears to the best of their knowledge that the information in the affidavit is accurate. Normally, the executor of the estate will be the person who signs this document. This affidavit must also be notarized.
An affidavit of domicile is important because where the decedent lived will dictate what state laws the probate process must follow. In some cases, the decedent has more than one home. Their domicile will be where they voted and paid taxes.
This information is necessary for an executor of the estate to transfer assets like stocks or securities. Brokers will usually require the affidavit of domicile before transferring any assets. After residence has been verified, the process of transferring property as per the decedent's will or state law can begin.
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Key Terms in an Affidavit of Domicile
There are various key terms that you will find in most affidavits of domicile. It is important to understand these terms in order to understand the purpose of the document.
- Deceased: The person who died.
- Estate: All of the property that belonged to the deceased person including real and personal property.
- Executor of the Estate: The executor of the state is the person who is appointed by the will to manage the deceased’s property. The executor of the state, sometimes called the executor of the will is in charge of settling the debts of the deceased and distributing assets to beneficiaries as the will dictates.
- Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are named in the will and will receive a portion of the decedent’s assets.
- Probate Court: Probate courts are state courts that handle the execution of wills
- Domicile: This is where the deceased person lived, paid taxes, and voted.
- Estate Account: An estate account is opened after the death of a person and is used for all transactions relating to the estate including paying debts and depositing funds from real estate sales or other assets. This account is usually opened and controlled by the executor of the estate.
- Stocks and Securities: Documents that show ownership in a publicly traded company.
- Financial Broker: A financial broker manages the purchases and sales of stocks and securities.
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Purpose of an Affidavit of Domicile
The purpose of an affidavit of domicile is to verify a deceased person’s permanent residence. This is required in probate court and is used to transfer stocks and bonds owned by the decedent during the probate process.
The executor of the estate will need to present this affidavit to financial brokers and to other financial institutions while handling the deceased person’s financial affairs. These places may also require a death certificate and other account information.
If the decedent has more than one security account and owns shares of stock in more than one company, the executor of the estate will need an affidavit of domicile for each company.
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What’s Included in An Affidavit of Domicile
An affidavit of domicile requires identifying information about both the decedent and the executor of the estate (or whoever will be executing the affidavit) to be legally valid. Depending on your state, other information may be required. If you are unsure about the estate laws where you live, you could consult with a probate lawyer to be sure that your affidavit of domicile is legally valid.
No matter what you state requires, generally an affidavit of domicile includes the following information:
- Name and address of the executor of the estate or person planning to take ownership of the assets
- Name of the decedent
- Date of death
- Executor of the estate’s relationship to the decedent
- The city, county, and state of residence of the decedent at the time of death
- How long the decedent resided at their current address
Some affidavits of domicile will also include an optional section about stocks and bonds. You will need to know the location of all the decedent’s stocks and bonds at the time of their death. Having this information, while not required, will help probate court run more smoothly.
The affidavit of domicile must be signed and dated in the presence of a notary and the notary stamp must be affixed to the document. It is important to remember that an affidavit of domicile is a sworn written oath, and it is a crime to falsify information on this document.
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How Do I Fill Out an Affidavit of Domicile?
If you are unsure about how to fill out an affidavit of domicile, you can always contact a probate lawyer or a lawyer who specializes in estate planning to assist you.
Depending on where you live and your state laws, you may be able to find a simple affidavit of domicile online to fill out. This form, usually available in PDF format will require that you fill out the following information:
- State and County of where the document is to be used
- Your name and address including the county in which you reside
- Your relationship to the decedent which usually can either be “executor”, “representative”, or “heir for the deceased”
- Date of death
- The decedent’s legally residence at the time of death
- Length at that address
The affidavit of domicile will also usually include a sentence that states something like, “This affidavit has been created for the purpose of securing the transfer or delivery of property owned by the decedent at the time of death to a purchaser or persons legally entitled thereto under the laws of the decedent’s state of domicile.”
There will then be a space where you can sign the document as the executor and a place for a notary public to sign and place their seal on the document.
Click here to see an example form of an Affidavit of Domicile.
Affidavit of Domicile FAQs
What is the difference between residence and domicile?
Generally, a residence is a place that you live. This can be for a long or short term. Domicile is the location of your permanent home. Usually, a domicile is the place in which you pay taxes and vote.
Can a person have two domiciles?
No. It is not possible to declare domicile in two different states. You can only have one domicile certificate at a time, and it is actually an offense. Typically it is where the person pays taxes and votes.
Can you change your domicile?
Yes. If you leave the state in which you currently live and settle in a new location, you can legally change your domicile.
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