Affidavit Checklist for Terminating/Transferring Real Property Interests

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Note/Warning: You will not be able to print an Affidavit through the Form Library until you have all the information required in the questionnaire. All data must be submitted before the Affidavit can be compiled and available for printing. If any data is missing, the information will be stored and you can log in at another time to complete the missing information and then print the document.

The following outlines the information required by the questionnaire you will complete to prepare an Affidavit as well as other useful information to assist you with the document preparation:

1. You will need a copy of the deed in which you acquired the interest in the real property.

  • If you do not have a copy of your deed, you can obtain a copy from the Office of the County Recorder where the property is located. You can also telephone a title company in the County where the property is located and ask its customer service department, if they can provide you with a copy of your deed by giving them the property address or tax parcel number.
  • Most of the information required to prepare the Affidavit in the Form Library can be found on the deed. You will need the recording information on the deed. The document preparation process will be the most efficient, if you get this deed before proceeding.
  • A joint tenancy interest or a community property interest with right of survivorship must be clearly reflected on the deed. A life estate interest may be conveyed in different forms but the language establishing a life estate interest should be clear and state the name(s) of the person(s) who holds the life estate interest.

2. You will need a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate for each Affidavit form which is prepared.

3. You will need to know the equity value of the real property during the year in which the decedent died. You can obtain this information from the County Assessor where the property is located or from an appraisal, if one has been obtained.

4. You must know whether or not the decedent’s estate (total value of all assets) is subject to estate taxes. The estate tax exemption for 2017 is $5,490,000. For 2016 the estate tax exemption was $5,450,000. Estates with assets whose values exceed the exemption (exclusion) amounts in effect during the year the decedent died are taxable estates and required to file Estate Tax Returns. Estates with assets whose values exceed the exemption (exclusion) amounts in effect during the year the decedent died are taxable estates and required to file Estate Tax Returns. For more information see IRS Publication 559.

5. When providing your name for the Affidavit, it should be entered the same way it appears on the deed which shows your interest the property, for example:

  • The name on the deed says: John L. Smith.
    Do not use a variation such as John Smith OR John Leon Smith OR J. L. Smith.
  • If you have changed your name, an Affidavit can still be used; however, the Affidavit forms in this Library do not currently offer this option. Please feel free to contact Cautela Corporation for further assistance.

6. If the decedent’s name on the death certificate varies in any way from the way the name is printed on the deed, you will be asked to provide both variations of the name. For example:

  • The name on the death certificate is John Lewis Smith.
  • The name on the deed is stated as John Smith.
  • The affidavit form will read JOHN LEWIS SMITH also known as JOHN SMITH.
  • These distinctions avoid title confusion.

7. You will need to type in the legal description of the real property. You will find the legal description on the deed. The legal description must be accurate. The most common mistake made on real property transfers is in the legal description. Please copy this description from the deed very carefully and verify it after you have completed the Affidavit. You will be able to make corrections to information submitted within a specified edit period, if that is necessary. Often legal descriptions are fairly short, such as:

    Lot 13 of EL MAGICO, a subdivision of Pima County, Arizona, according to the map of record in the Pima County Recorder’s Office in Book 19 of maps and plats at page 23.
  • You may find that your legal description is more lengthy and involved; these descriptions are called a metes and bounds description and have very specific survey language. It is especially important to double check the description before recording the deed, and often helpful to have someone read the description from the original deed to you as you confirm the description is accurately entered.
  • The property descriptions shown on county assessors’ valuation notices are summary descriptions only; you should obtain your property deed to accurately record the formal legal description of the real property; do not simply enter a street address or tax parcel number.

8. A certified copy (original) death certificate must be attached to the Affidavit before it is recorded. Make sure to black out all but the last four number of the decedent’s social security number on the death certificate before it is sent/delivered for recording (SS# xxx-xx-9999). A County Recorder should not accept a document for recording that shows the entire social security number. (Reference: A.R.S. Sec. 11-461).

9. The Affidavit must be recorded with the County Recorder’s Office where the real property is located in order to transfer the property interest on the county record. See Deeds: Recording Information.