An Affidavit of Domicile is a legal document used to verify the last address of someone who is recently deceased. Affidavit of Domicile forms are often used to help quicken the process of transferring the deceased’s stocks, bonds, or other similar assets to their new owner.
What is an Affidavit of Domicile?
An 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 beneficiaries.
Affidavits of domicile must be signed before a notary public, and the executor of other person signing the affidavit of domicile must swear, to the best of their knowledge, that the information contained in it is accurate. In situations where the deceased had more than one home, his or her domicile is the place where they have voted and paid taxes. The most common terms used in an affidavit of domicile are:
- Deceased: the person who has died.
- Estate: the real and personal property of the deceased.
- 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: the place the deceased lived, voted and paid taxes. It is most often their home or primary residence.
- Estate Account: an account opened by the executor of the estate after a person has died. The account is used to pay estate debts and deposit funds from the sale of estate assets and related transactions.
- Stocks and Securities: documents that represent an ownership percentage in a publicly-traded company.
- Financial Broker: a person who manages the purchase and sale of securities.
The terms affidavit of domicile and affidavit of residency are used interchangeably on some websites and in other resources, but in most states they are two different things.
As a reference, this document may also be referred to as a:
- Notarized Affidavit of Domicile
When do You Need an Affidavit of Domicile?
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. This document is required by a financial broker to confirm the deceased person’s residence in order to determine which state’s estate and inheritance taxes will be assessed against these assets.
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.
The Consequences of Not Having an Affidavit of Domicile
Without an affidavit of domicile, the executor of the will cannot settle an estate that includes stocks, bonds, or other securities. Under these circumstances, ownership of the securities cannot be transferred to the appropriate beneficiary and they cannot be cashed in order for the proceeds deposited into the estate account.
This asset is also considered a debt against the estate because of the taxes that must be paid upon transfer or sale. The estate is forced to remain open until the transfer occurs and the taxes are paid, which may delay the distribution of other assets to the beneficiaries.
In addition, the executor could be sued by the beneficiaries for incompetence and failure to fulfill his or her duties to distribute assets as per the terms of the will.
Make it easy for the executors to perform their duties by attaching an addendum to your will that lists your securities and includes account numbers and financial brokers or brokerage firms. Update the addendum as needed to maintain a complete and accurate list of accounts.
The Most Common Uses for This Form
The most common situation when an affidavit of domicile is used occurs when the executor of an estate is responsible for settling an estate that includes securities. Some banks may also require this document, unless an estate account has been opened.
You can avoid having to use an affidavit of domicile by opening a joint securities account with your intended beneficiary. In this situation, these assets are not included in the estate as they are already owned by the person you have selected.
What Should be Included in Your Affidavit of Domicile
A basic affidavit of domicile includes the following:
- The Name of the deceased
- The deceased’s Address
- The length of Time they lived at the address
- The Date they died
- The Probate Court which has jurisdiction
- Instructions for the transfer or cashing of securities
In situations where 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.
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