Affidavit of Heirship for a vehicle

Hello,

I am still fairly new to the notary business with about 6 signings total under my belt. With that being said, just yesterday I was called to notarize two affidavits of heirship for a vehicle. It was for 4 siblings. Their mom had just past and three of the siblings were relinquishing their ownership of the vehicle to one of the siblings.

I went ahead and had one sibling sign one affidavit and the other three siblings sign the other. I notarized and signed both affidavits. I also (of course) identified all parties by proper identification. I only took down the single sibling as a signer in my book. I know I did something not completely right, I just don’t know what.

Thank you for any tips or advice!

My initial thoughts:

  1. Where are you located?

  2. You said 4 siblings - 3 were relinquishing their rights to ownership of the vehicle - if 3 were giving up their right to the vehicle, why did you have all four sign?

  3. Why did you not have all signers entered into your journal?

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  1. This is in Texas.

  2. One signer signed one affidavit (the person taking possession of the vehicle) and the other siblings sign the other affidavit…

  3. I figured since he was the “signer” only his info was needed in my book.

Thank you again for the tips.

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You said you had 4 signers…then you say “since he was the “signer”…”

Since all signed an affidavit, all signers’ info should have been in your journal with them signing.

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Thank you for the response.

As far as affidavit of heirship, is that usually done using only one affidavit form? They told me they had too forms because all 4 siblings wouldn’t fit on one.

I can’t answer that…there may have been two affidavits because the one taking ownership contained different statements than the one relinquishing ownership. For example - the one for those relinquishing ownership agree they give up all rights to the vehicle…the other one for the new owner agrees that the value of the vehicle is deducted from any distribution from the estate. (this based on my experience with my own mother’s estate and my daughter took her vehicle…)

JMO…for a more definitive answer to that I’d refer you back to the originator of those documents.

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Sounds good, thank you.

Being new to this, it is sometimes hard to stop myself and tell the person I am only there to witness, verify and stamp.

Thanks again.

My first step would be to ask who created these affidavits and what instructions had been given. If the answer given was they created it themselves, or they found it on the internet, and the siblings didn’t seem to know what they were knowing, I would decline the signing on the basis that the signers didn’t understand what they were signing. (Vermont notary law does not say how well that the signers have to understand the document, but the notary is allowed to refuse to notarize unless there is some other law saying the notary can’t refuse.)

If they pulled out a set of instructions from someone who ought to know what they are doing, like the DMV or a lawyer, and the instructions say to put everyone on one form but they won’t fit, I’d tell them to contact whoever provided the form, or a lawyer. If they couldn’t do that in a matter of minutes, I’d decline to act.

Lets suppose the instructions get cleared up, and it really is an affidavit, which means I’m administering an oath. Although Vermont does not require a journal, I keep one. If there was one version with a single signer and another version with three signers, I would record two documents in my journal, with the appropriate signers listed for each one. It wouldn’t matter to me if the affidavits had identical preprinted wording or the preprinted wording was different; if the list of signers is different, the documents are different and get different lines in my journal.

I once had a document I had to get notarized for myself and my family. It was executed in multiple counterparts. That is, there were three siblings and three identical originals. Every signer signed every original and every document was considered an original; every signer ended up with their own original. If I encountered this in general notary work, I might have only one line in my journal, but I would certainly note there were three (or whatever the number was) multiple counterparts. “Multiple counterparts” was a phrase that appeared in the documents.

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I poked around and found a form from the TX DMV. Is that the form you notarized? If so, the “Information” box in the upper half of page 2 has a bullet point which says

  • If all heirs cannot appear before one notary public on the same date, or there are more than three heirs, additional copies of this form must be completed. If additional copies of this form are completed, all copies must be submitted by the transferee (or purchaser) with the title application at the time of application to a county tax assessor-collector’s office.

So it sounds like you got the notarization right, but should have recorded one document with one signer and one document with three signers in you journal.

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Awesome, thank you for your insight. I will definitely be asking who created the affidavits and what their instructions were next time around.

Yes, that is the document! Thanks again.

In TX, we are not “required” to have anyone sign our journal. However, it is strongly encouraged/recommended. You should have information for every single person signing any forms with you. Each person should have a separate entry into your journal. This, if for no other reason, gives you a record of all activities you performed and for whom in case there is ever a question. I pray this helps.

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I would of had each sign their own Affidavits.

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An Affidavit of Heirship only lists the heirs of the deceased, it is not designed to convey ownership.

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Yes, thank you so much! Very concise, I will be sure to get all signers info next time.