Virginia Probate Attorney
Probate Administration in Virginia
When someone passes away, many details must be addressed, such as notifying others of the passing and planning the funeral. For many families, the days and weeks after losing a loved one are busy dealing with all the details for the final arrangements. However, at some point, you need to handle the numerous financial matters necessary to finalize your loved one’s affairs. Usually this process involves probating the decedent’s estate. A Virginia probate attorney provides guidance and support as you work to organize and file for probate administration.
The Probate Process in Virginia
The process of finalizing the financial affairs for someone can seem overwhelming, especially if the estate involves many assets or complicated issues. Attempting to handle the probate administration without a Virginia probate attorney can be overwhelming. Besides securing the person’s assets, dealing with family conflicts, and preparing probate forms, you must also educate yourself about the probate process and Virginia probate laws.
However, if you work with me to handle the administration of the probate estate, you can be assured that I will guide you through every step in the probate process besides providing legal advice and guidance related to your duties and responsibilities as the administrator of the probate estate.
Some of the important duties and tasks you must perform as the Personal Representative of the estate that I will assist you with include:
· Opening the Probate Estate
The first step in probating an estate is to file the documents to open the probate estate. Opening a probate estate involves locating and reading the will. You must complete the probate documents to petition the court to open an estate and appoint you as the Personal Representative. If your loved one died without a will, the process could be more complicated and involve additional steps. As your Virginia probate attorney, I take care of these steps for you, including completing and filing the paperwork to open the estate.
· Secure Assets and Prepare an Inventory
One of your duties is to ensure that the person’s assets are secure. You need to identify all assets so you can prepare an inventory to file with the probate court. The will or Virginia’s intestate laws determine how the assets are distributedto heirs. However, until that time, you are responsible for the assets. I can help you identify sources of income, financial accounts, real estate, life insurance policies, and other property that might need to be secured until the assets are distributedfrom the estate to the designated heirs.
· Provide Notice to Heirs and Creditors
Creditors, heirs, and other parties in interest must be notifiedof the probate estate. It is extremely important that you provide all notices required by law. Our legal team assists you in identifying the parties who require notice and ensuring notices are providedaccording toVirginia probate laws.
· Review and Pay Bills and Claims
You are responsible for paying the final debts of the decedent. As part of this responsibility, you must review claims filed against the estate and either pay or object to the claims.
· Filing Tax Returns
You may have to file a final tax return for the decedent and a tax return for the estate. Tax issues related to probate estates can be complicated. As a Virginia probate attorney, I provide the guidance you need to ensure you comply with all tax laws related to personal income taxes and estate tax laws.
· Distributing Assets from the Estate
Once the bills and other matters are resolved, you must file a proposal for distribution detailing how you intend to distribute assets to heirs. The proposal should be in accordance with the terms of the will or Virginia’s intestate laws. Some assets, such as vehicles and real estate, have titles that must be transferred. Ensuring that each asset is transferredcorrectly is extremely important to avoid future problems. In addition, you must ensure you receive the documentation to file with the court to demonstrate youtransferred assets from the estate to the heirs.
· Closing the Probate Estate
After allbills are paid andassets are distributedto heirs, it is time to close the probate estate. Closing an estate requires preparing a final accounting and other documentation. Once the court approves the final accounting, the estate may be closed.
Unfortunately, probating an estate may involve dealing with family members and other heirs that may not agree with the terms of the will or your actions. For many personal representatives, this type of situation can cause a great deal of stress. By hiring a Virginia probate attorney, you can avoid this stress because your attorney acts as a buffer to deal with questions regarding the administration of the probate estate.
Administrating a Probate Estate Without A Will
When a person dies without a will, probate administration can be a bit more difficult. The final affairs must be handled under Virginia’s intestate laws. The intestate laws determine who will inherit from the estate. The laws also dictate the percentage of the estate each heir is entitled to receive. Unfortunately, promises or statements made by your loved one during his or her lifetime are not valid if a will or trust agreement was not executed.
Family members may be angry about not receiving what they believe they were promised. Some family members may contest the distribution from the estate. Our Virginia probate attorney will handle the probate of an intestate estate, including representing you and the estate if family members or other parties contest the distribution.
Does the Probate Estate Include a Trust Agreement?
Some individuals use one or more trust agreements as part of their estate plan. You might have been named as the trustee. If you are named as the trustee, you have additional duties and responsibilities under the trust that are separate from your duties as a Personal Representative for the estate.
Sometimes, a trust administration can be more complex than an estate administration. As a Virginia probate attorney, I also has extensive experience handling both estate and trust administrations. Therefore, you need not hire another law firm if a trust agreement is involved. You can trust I will handle all matters related to the estate and the trust for you.
Consult an Experienced Virginia Probate Attorney
Estate administration can be stressful and overwhelming. However, you need not attempt to handle matters related to a probate estate by yourself. You can obtain the support and legal advice you need to finalize the financial affairs for your loved one from a compassionate and professional probate administration attorney.
Experience You Can Trust
If you have questions about the probate process or you want a Virginia probate attorney to handle the probate estate for you, contact my office. I am here to provide support and guidance as you go through finalizing your loved one’s affairs after his or her death.