Why Do You Need a Writable Affidavit of Survivorship?

Updated July 14, 2023
11 min read
Why Do You Need a Writable Affidavit of Survivorship?


Navigating the world of legal documents can sometimes feel like trying to understand a foreign language. One term that often causes raised eyebrows is "writable affidavit of survivorship". Don't fret! We are here to demystify what a writable affidavit of survivorship is and inform you why it's an essential document to be familiar with.

The "Why": Importance of a Writable Affidavit of Survivorship

So, what's the inside scoop on this affidavit? Essentially, a writable affidavit of survivorship is a legal document that passes ownership of a property to the surviving owner(s) after one owner's death. Filling out a writable affidavit of survivorship is evidence of the deceased owner, and it’s also a shortcut to transferring property rights.

Why does this matter to you? Well, if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of losing a co-owner of a property, this document is crucial. Without a properly completed affidavit of survivorship form, the transfer of ownership could turn into a long, convoluted process, potentially leading to disputes, legal fees, and heaps of stress.

When Do I Use a Writable Affidavit of Survivorship?

To put it in basic terms, let's use a common example. You and a loved one jointly own a property. If they were to pass away, the writable affidavit of survivorship would allow you to officially obtain their share in an instant, honoring their wishes without getting tangled in lengthy legal procedures. It's the difference between standing in a never-ending line at the grocery store versus accessing the express self-checkout — no contest, right?

Limitations To Writable Affidavit of Survivorship

Just like not every pair of shoes fits everyone, a writable affidavit of survivorship doesn't fit every situation. The usability of this affidavit is highly dependent on the type of joint ownership chosen when you acquired the property. 

For example, it wouldn't apply if the property was part of the deceased owner's estate and not held as joint tenants with the right of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety. Also, consider local laws, as they can vary widely.

Getting By with a little help: Calling in legal professionals

Don’t let legal jargon get you down. Professional lawyers near you can save you a lot of time and hassle whilst ensuring the correct legal steps are being taken. Yes, it may feel a bit like calling in a maths tutor, but hey, aren't we all happily past those days of struggling on our own with complex problems?

Benefits for Future Estate Planning

Ever heard the phrase 'prevention is better than cure'? Well, it applies here too! Implementing a writable affidavit of survivorship in advance can be a godsend for estate planning. You’re inherently making life simpler for your loved ones by ensuring your property transfers seamlessly to the surviving co-owner upon your passing. 


The writable affidavit of survivorship is a handy tool in your legal kit. Like a trusty Swiss Army knife, it helps you to cut through the tangles of property ownership transfer and upholds your ownership rights in unfortunate circumstances.

It's always sensible to arm yourself with knowledge, especially when it involves matters of importance like property and estate planning. Remember to consult with a legal professional when unsure and make full use of helpful resources like affidavit of survivorship forms and personal templates. Secure your peace of mind knowing you've got this covered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a writable affidavit of survivorship?

A writable affidavit of survivorship is a legal tool used mostly in real estate to confirm the death of a property joint owner and facilitate the transferring of their share to the surviving owner(s).

Is a writable affidavit of survivorship always necessary?

It's not always required, but it certainly smooths out the property transfer process. For example, in some areas like Minnesota, US law demands the surviving owner(s) to file an affidavit of survivorship before they can assume full ownership of the jointly held property.

Are there any limitations to the writable affidavit of survivorship?

Yes, the document comes with some restrictions. For instance, in California, a writable affidavit of survivorship can only be used for property owned as a Joint Tenancy or as Community Property with Right of Survivorship. In such cases, the surviving owners can use an affidavit to prove their full ownership. But, if the property was held as tenants in common, this document won’t be enough.