Q: My sister-in-law died August 30, 2015. She had no will and lived with my wife and me for the past 9 years.
She didn't own any property, no jewelry, no car. All she had was a bank savings account with about 9k and a retirement account we found going through her stuff from a job she had years ago worth around 19k. We just wanted to close the bank account to pay for her funeral expenses and whatever was left toward her medical bills. I don't want to be bonded to be the administrator of her estate, my wife is in poor health and does not want to deal with it either. I just need to know the best way to close her accounts. Should we just give everything to the circuit court clerk and let them deal with it? I read that estates worth less than 50k generally don't need an administrator or executor, how does that work? Basically, we just want to stop having to deal with the court and put her death behind us. Thank you for your time.
A: There are two groups of people that have an interest in the estate. Her creditors and her heirs. The law explains how such an estate may be handled.
Small estates (less than $50,000) may be handled in accordance with Va. Code §64.2-600 & 601
That the Designated Successor shall have a fiduciary duty to safeguard and promptly pay or deliver the small asset
as required by the laws of the Commonwealth. (Translation: The designated successor should pay all lawful bills of the deceased including the funeral expenses and taxes and after paying those bills should distribute the balance of the estate to the people designated in the will, or if no will to the intestate heirs)
Here is a copy of the form needed:
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