A judicial succession proceeding is how the law recognizes the transfer of immovable property (that is, real estate). It allows for the transfer of bank accounts and stocks and bonds or any other assets that are registered in the name of the deceased, and arranges for the payment of the debts of the decedent. If an individual dies without owning any of those assets, and without having substantial debt, it may not be necessary to open his succession.
Deposits with a bank, savings and loan or credit union that are in an alternative account (for example, accounts in the name of Mr. or Mrs. John Doe) may be withdrawn by the surviving account holder, but in rare cases, the bank may require the surviving account holder to execute an affidavit. Deposits only in the name of the decedent that are less than $1,000 may be withdrawn by the heirs by executing an affidavit, but only when the decedent died intestate. A surviving spouse can also execute an affidavit and withdraw up to $10,000 from an account of the decedent. Please note that the fact that you can have access to the accounts does not mean that the person with access becomes the owner of that money. Ownership of the money will be determined by the deceased person’s testament, if he had one, or by the rules of intestacy.
Some bank accounts provide who will become the owner of the account if the depositor dies. These are called “Due on Death” accounts and are sometimes abbreviated “D.O.D.” For those accounts, the bank will usually require a certified death certificate.
The title to an automobile may be transferred by executing a form from the Office of Motor Vehicles called an Affidavit of Heirship. This will allow you to transfer the title so that you can secure insurance and maintain a current license plate and inspection sticker. To download and print a copy of this form, click below.