This article will cover:
- An overview of Probate Process in Virginia, recording a will with the appropriate court and settling the estate of a deceased person.
- The potential difficulties and unexpected issues that can arise when handling probate without the assistance of an attorney.
- The primary reasons for contested wills, and valid grounds for such contestation.
What Is Probate In Virginia And What Sets The Stage For Probate To Happen?
Probate is the process of recording a will with the appropriate court in order to open and settle the estate of a deceased person. After someone passes away and a death certificate is obtained, you must call the probate clerk in the county where you are located and set up an appointment to probate the will. Some counties in Virginia have specific forms they require, but the process is generally the same. During the probate appointment, the will is recorded, probate taxes are paid, and the commissioner of accounts is notified of the new case.
Within four months of the probate appointment, you must record an inventory of the estate, which is a detailed explanation of all the assets in the estate. If all the debts have been paid, you can file a first and final accounting of the estate. For example, if there is $100 in the estate and you pay five dollars to open the estate and $50 for bills and expenses, the remaining $45 would be distributed to the heir. The estate is closed once the final accounting is approved by the commissioner of accounts.
Can Probate Be Avoided In Virginia And How Can A Springfield Virginia Estate Attorney Help?
Probate can be minimized in Virginia. While everything must go through the probate process, even if it’s just recording the will in court, if all assets are placed in a trust, there will be less to go through probate.
The process can then be simplified to a small claims estate, where the will is recorded with the court and an affidavit is submitted, stating that there is less than $50,000 in the estate. A Springfield estate planning attorney or any other estate planning attorney can help prepare this affidavit and ensure that the process of distributing the assets is recognized by financial institutions.
What Are Some Of The Reasons A Will Is Contested In Virginia?
A will can be contested in Virginia for various reasons, but the most common reason is money. An heir who has been intentionally left out of the will may contest it, or the heirs may contest the distribution of assets if they feel they are entitled to more. In some cases, the validity of the will may be called into question if the testator was not of sound mind when the will was executed.
Additionally, a will may be contested if the testator was influenced by someone with ulterior motives, such as a younger spouse. Ultimately, the primary reason for contesting a will is usually related to the distribution of assets and money.
Do I Need A Springfield Virginia Probate Attorney Or Can I Handle This By My Own?
The answer is yes, you can handle probate on your own, but it is not recommended. Handling probate without the assistance of an attorney can lead to unexpected issues and difficulties. The commissioner of accounts can be very specific about the information and documentation required for a probate accounting, and if you are not familiar with these requirements, you may have your estate taken away and handled by another attorney appointed by the commissioner. It is always recommended to have the support of a Springfield Virginia probate attorney to ensure the smooth settlement of your estate.
For more information on Dealing With The Probate Process In Virginia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (703) 775-1678 today.