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Affidavit of Domicile

This Agreement is entered by and between Jonas Adam, individually or collectively as the "Signee" and Jane Smith, as the "Signer", together referred to as the "Parties".
The Contract is dated [the date both parties sign].

1. Agreement terms

The Parties agree that the following agreement is dependent on the terms presented as follow:

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Affidavit of Domicile

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What is an Affidavit of Domicile?

An Affidavit of Domicile is a legal document used after a person has died in order to establish the person’s legal place of residence at the time of death. It is considered sworn legal testimony, and any false statements can lead to serious criminal charges. An Affidavit of Domicile is most often utilized by a probate court when distributing the deceased person’s property upon death. 

An Affidavit of Domicile is sometimes also known as a Notarized Affidavit of Domicile, as it has to be signed in the presence of a licensed Notary Public. It is also sometimes, erroneously, referred to as an Affidavit of Residence.

An Affidavit of Residence is another legal document by which someone swears the legal residence of a person, but it is primarily used to affirm residence while still living. For example, you would complete an Affidavit of Residence if you have just moved to a new location and need to provide proof of address for some reason.

When do you need an Affidavit of Domicile?

An Affidavit of Domicile is needed after a person’s death if there is a need to clarify the person’s legal residence in order to simplify the circumstances of assets and debts for beneficiaries. It needs to be completed by the executor of the person’s estate and requires relatively few steps for most cases.

This document is specifically used in cases where the deceased has stocks, bonds, or other investment assets that need to be transferred to next of kin. Certain banking or financial institutions may also require it alongside a death certificate in order to release financial information and assets. There are tax implications involved that require detailed reporting of location and ownership.

What if you don’t complete an Affidavit of Domicile?

There are a number of issues that can arise if an Affidavit of Domicile is not completed and accepted. Because this document is primarily used to allow the distribution of estate assets, including stocks, bonds, and securities, failure to complete the affidavit can delay the timely transfer to beneficiaries. If this transfer is delayed for a significant period of time, the executor could also face legal action from the beneficiaries for failure to fulfill their duty to the estate.

How do you fill out an Affidavit of Domicile?

As with most legal documents, it can be helpful to review a sample affidavit before trying to complete one on your own. There are many available online, but each state may have their own reporting requirements that you should review. 

After that, the first step is to obtain an official Affidavit of Domicile form. If you are using an attorney, he or she should be able to provide this form for you. If not, the form can be found online.

Once the form has been obtained, you can proceed. Completing the form requires filling in basic information about yourself (as the executor) and the deceased, including their residency at the time of death. You will also provide the exact date of the person’s death. When complete, you will need to sign the form in the presence of a notary, who will also sign and date the document.

You will be required to provide photo identification to the notary at the time of signing.

Filling out an Affidavit of Domicile is a relatively quick process. (Source)

What information do you need for an Affidavit of Domicile?

As mentioned briefly before, you will need to provide some information about yourself and the deceased in order to complete this form. It is recommended to obtain this information prior to attempting to complete the form, as some sections may be difficult to clarify.

Executor’s information

You will need to provide your own name, address, and relation to the decedent (deceased party). You may be referred to in the affidavit as the “affiant.” The affiant, by signing the affidavit, swears that the deceased was a resident of the location named in the affidavit at their time of death. If necessary, you may be asked to complete an Affidavit of Identity to verify your own identity prior to further legal proceedings.

You can choose from the following titles to identify yourself in relation to the decedent:

Usually, an executor is a person named in the Will to be in charge of the estate. If a person dies without a Last Will, the person assigned to handle the estate is referred to as an Administrator. Some states have replaced the term executor with personal representative, so you may see that title used instead (and often interchangeably).

Decedent’s information

You will need to provide some information about the decedent as well. The primary purpose of the Affidavit of Domicile is to legally establish the residence of the decedent at the time of their death. Thus, you will need to have details of this residence, including street address, city, state, and duration of the residency.

For individuals that maintained only one residence for an extended period of time, this information should be simple to obtain. However, there are some situations that can be more challenging, such as individuals in college or stationed with the military at the time of death.

You may also wish to outline the location of the deceased’s stocks and bonds at the time of death. This optional step is used to assist in probate court and is not required. An Affidavit of Domicile can be used to transfer stocks, bonds, and securities to beneficiaries if that is part of the estate of the deceased.

How do I determine legal residency?

Legally speaking, “domicile” and “legal residency” refer to the same thing. They differ from “residency” in that there can only be one “domicile”, while someone may be a “resident” of multiple places at the same time.

For many people, this is a simple situation. However, if the decedent was in the military, a minor, a college student, a nursing home resident, etc, it can be much more challenging to identify their legal residence.

A nursing home resident, for example, may have only recently moved to the facility. She may still own her house elsewhere and consider it to be “home.” However, her full-time physical residence is at the facility. Where is her legal residence in that case?

Determining legal residency can be as simple as knowing where “home” is. (Source)

Sometimes it can be easier to sort out though. For example, a college student who resides temporarily in a dormitory during the school year, but always returns to their parents’ house does not have two legal domiciles. It is most likely that their parents’ house is considered their legal residence.

The general rule for determining residency

The simplest way to sort this out is to consider the person’s intent. The legal residence can be considered the place that they consider “home” and where they have the most capital (be it financial interest, family ties, personal belongings, etc). For adults, it is likely the residence used when voting, paying taxes, etc.

Other determinants of residency for an affidavit of domicile

If a court is still having difficulty establishing a legal residence, here are some other factors that can help make a determination:

These factors are by no means exhaustive or binding but can assist in challenging scenarios. If you find yourself in the position of needing to complete an Affidavit of Domicile, you can find assistance through many avenues. A lawyer may be the most comprehensive source of assistance, but you can find a great deal of guidance online as well.

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