How does the process of Probate work in the Commonwealth?

In Virginia, after someone’s demise, the legal process of probate may be required. Probate is a legal process supervised by the court that provides the surviving family of the deceased the authority to manage and administrate estate, pay liabilities, or transfer assets to the rightful heir. Usually, one must consult estate and probate lawyer Virginia Beach when dealing with probate. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss some essential aspects related to probate in Virginia.

Probate court proceedings are only required when the deceased person holds the title of ownership of assets in question. One may not need to go through probate proceeding if there are non-probate assets.

What are probate and non-probate assets?

Whatever assets the deceased person shares joint ownership of are considered as non-probate assets. Such assets automatically pass to the surviving person.

Besides this, if the deceased person has designated a trusty for the assets, life insurance proceeds, and assets under a revocable living trust, come under non-probate assets.

One may opt for special probate proceedings when the deceased has left a small estate and property. Your probate lawyer Virginia Beach may suggest different options for the real estate and other assets. 

If the deceased has not drawn any will for the real estate, the heirs or the personal representative has the option to file an affidavit to the court under Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-601.

In matters related to personal assets less than $50,000, all the beneficiaries named in the Will can file an affidavit under Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-601.

How are regulate probate proceedings handled?

As a rule, the probate proceedings undertake where the deceased person owned real estate. Most often, the circuit court clerk handles the paperwork. If there is a conflict in the proceeding, the circuit judge gets involved in the case.

When there is a need for probate, the person named the personal representative can approach the appropriate circuit court and initiate the process. If you serve as an executor in the probate proceeding, here are the things you will require.

  1. The original copy of the signed will
  2. Copy of the Death Certificate 
  3. A rough estimate of the assets left by the deceased person 

You will also be required to prepare a list of all the heirs on a form given by the court. In case the Will in question is not self-proving, one of the witnesses present at the time of signing the Will is called to the court. To prove Will’s validity, you will also have to arrange two people who know the deceased person’s handwriting. However, you must ensure these people are not the heirs in the Will.  The court may consider appointing an administrator if there is no will or the person named the personal representative cannot serve. An administrator has the same responsibilities that an executor has. In case the executor or personal representative is not a Virginia state resident, they must appoint someone residing in the state as their agent.

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