When a person passes away without an estate plan, or even with a Last Will and Testament, the estate must go through a process known as Probate before assets can be distributed. Probate is often a frustrating, time-consuming and needlessly expensive process. It is also open to the public.
Perhaps you are wondering what is required to probate an estate? While every situation is different, here is what is involved in a “typical” probate:
- Filing a petition with the probate court
- Notice to heirs named in the Will or, if there is no Will, to statutory heirs
- Petition to appoint an Executor (if there is a Will) or an Administrator
- Inventory and appraisal of all estate assets
- Payment of estate debt to creditors
- Sale of estate assets
- Payment of estate taxes
- Final distribution of assets to heirs
There is much to be done, and accomplishing all of it would be difficult in and of itself. When you factor in the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one, the situation can seem overwhelming. If you are facing the prospect of probating an estate, our Virginia probate lawyers can guide you through the process compassionately and efficiently. Remember—you are not alone during this difficult time. We are here to assist you. Contact us today for a personal meeting.
Virginia Trust Administration Lawyers
Many people are under the mistaken impression that once a trust has been created and funded, it will just go into effect automatically when the time comes. However, when a loved one passes away with a trust in place (or one created under a will), many steps must be taken to ensure the trustmaker’s wishes are carried out and the estate properly administered. These steps include filings with the court, state taxing authorities, and the Internal Revenue Service. Certain people also need to be notified in accordance with law. Then, the “executor” or “trustee” is responsible for opening bank accounts, settling creditor claims, paying the decedent’s final expenses, arranging for the sale of assets—all while making sure that proper accounting is maintained and provided to the beneficiaries of the trust.
It is important to note that failing to properly administer a trust can have serious legal and financial consequences for the trustee or executor. This is why the decision to take on this duty should not be taken lightly. We can explain the risks to you, and if you decide to serve as executor or trustee, guide you through every step of the process. We can also work closely with your existing fiduciaries and personal representatives to ensure the directives of the trust are carried out to the letter. If you decide not to accept the role of trustee or executor, we can help you select the ideal person or persons.
Contact our Virginia trust administration lawyers today to discuss your particular concerns and goals. We understand what you are going through during this difficult time and welcome the opportunity to make the process as stress-free as possible.