Probate In Virginia

When a person passes away in Virginia, probate will most likely have to occur unless the person has transferred their assets into a trust. Probate is a complicated process — and it can easily become overwhelming for those left behind.

You are already going through a loss when your loved one passes away, and the last thing you most likely want to deal with is handling their estate and filing accountings with the Commissioner of Accounts. At the Law Office of Deborah N. Arthur, we are here to help you get through the process as quickly and easily as possible.

How Does Probate Work?

If the deceased person had a will, then his or her named executor will take the original will to probate in order to begin the probate process. If the deceased person did not have a will, then a family member will need to be appointed the administrator or personal representative of the estate. In either scenario, you have a great responsibility to administer the estate either by the wishes laid out in the will or by the intestate laws of Virginia. You will also have to make sure any debts of the deceased are paid and taken care of before distributing all of the assets. There are many issues that can come up along the way which is why it is important to have an attorney help you throughout the process.

At the Law Office of Deborah N. Arthur, we suggest coming into our office for an appointment prior to any appointment you have scheduled with the probate office to be officially certified as the executor or administrator of an estate. This way we can lay out the basic process of probate, help you determine all the assets of the estate and make sure you bring everything that you need to the probate appointment. With over 30 years of experience, our estate planning attorneys always have your best interest in mind.

Duties Of The Executor And Administrator

Once you have been qualified as the executor or administrator of an estate by the probate office, your real duties begin. These duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Notifying all of the heirs and beneficiaries that you have been qualified
  • Filing an inventory of the estate within four months
  • Filing various accountings while you are administering the estate
  • Paying the debts of the estate
  • Distributing the assets of the estate

If the estate has more debts than there are assets, then it is essential that debts and demands hearing is scheduled in order for the commissioner to tell you which debts must be paid and in what proportions from the assets of the estate. Without such a hearing, you could become personally liable for the debts of the estate if you pick and choose yourself as to which debts to pay.

The probate process can be overwhelming for the lay person — that's why it's so important to have an experienced attorney in your corner along the way. If you find yourself in this situation, please call the Law Office of Deborah N. Arthur today at 703-278-2028 or contact us online to schedule a time for us to sit down with you to help guide you through this difficult time. From our office in Annandale, we help people throughout Northern Virginia.