Lots of things happen after someone dies. Family and friends are notified, funeral arrangements are made. At some point, a deceased person’s property will be given to heirs. But there has to be a process, a system, to make this happen, right? The family probably needs to find out how probate in Virginia is handled.
Probate, by Definition
The technical definition of probate is: “the official proving of the Will as the authentic and valid last will and testament of the deceased”. A probate proceeding starts with the submission of the deceased person’s Will.
However, if there’s no Will, someone who wants to serve as estate administrator (personal representative) asks the court to appoint them to administer the estate. The administrator would refer to Virginia law to know how to distribute the decedent’s property.
Specific Virginia Laws
Once the Will is declared valid or an estate administrator has been appointed, the work begins. The estate administrator gathers the assets and debts of the deceased person. Assets must be valued and inventoried. Valid claims against the estate are paid. The estate administrator then distributes remaining assets according to the terms of the Will.
If there’s no Will, then the intestacy succession guidelines of Virginia rule. For example, Jack B. died without leaving a Will. However, he did leave behind a wife and two children from a previous marriage. Generally, his assets will be split with two-thirds of the estate passing to his children and their descendants, if any. One-third of the estate passes to the surviving spouse.
However, if Jack B.’s children were also the children of his surviving spouse, his spouse would receive the entire estate.
Intestacy succession can get complicated. That’s why it’s best to leave your heirs with a guide – your Last Will and Testament (and maybe one or more trusts).
For Best Results, Talk to an Attorney About Your Estate Plans.
The attorneys at the Dillon Law Group have the skills and experience to help you with your estate planning needs. Please call us at 757-962-4796 to set up an appointment or contact us online by using our convenient Contact Form. We assist clients in Virginia Beach, Newport News, and surrounding communities.