Rockbridge Baths, VA asked in Estate Planning for Virginia

Q: What roughly is the cost of setting up a simple Estate for a brother who recently died with no will?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: A person may die testate, with a will, or intestate, without a will. Whether to probate an estate is an important threshold issue. In some instances, it is advantageous to probate an estate or will. In some other instances, it is not necessary, or the costs, inconvenience and liability outweigh the minimal benefits. Some property passes upon the death of the owner by law or by contract, for example payable-on-death (POD) bank accounts or transfer-on-death (TOD) investment accounts, a retirement plan or life insurance policy with a named beneficiary (other than the estate), or real estate held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety with a right of survivorship. When a real property owner dies intestate in Virginia, the real property "drops like a rock" into the names of the heirs. A real estate affidavit naming the heirs may be filed to give public notice of the current owners who inherited the property. There are also some devices or methods for transferring small assets, vehicles and for administering small estates, although some banks and financial institutions are reluctant to release funds except to a qualified personal representative.

Attorney's fees are negotiable. Filing fees for probate depend on the value of the estate. A bond may be required, if not waived in the will. A tax return may be required for the estate. It may be necessary to employ professionals to assist with the execution of a will or administration of an estate. The best way to determine the costs is to call around and/or consult with Virginia probate lawyers.

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