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Virginia Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: When my Aunt dies, what will need to be done to give out monies/belonging left in her will?

I currently have guardianship and conservatorship over my Aunt. She is elderly and in a nursing home with hospice care. Hospice has asked me to start preparing for her funeral arrangements. She has a living will that will leave everything to myself and my brother. Is there a legal way I am supposed... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Aug 4, 2022

A living will is an advance medical directive. It contains instructions for medical care if the principal becomes incapacitated.

I will assume you mean a will and I will assume that your aunt resides in Virginia, although you appear to be posting from Maryland.

Once your aunt...
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0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Are there any particular procedures to be followed when gifting items to an individual from an estate post-probate?

I am friend to the family of a deceased public figure. The family gifted me items that belonged to the deceased. Most specifically I want to know if the family needs to for any reason document the gifting (other than for any tax purposes) as having come from the estate.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Does funeral reimbursement from estate take precedence over other bills? Father's bank act is just enough to cover them

My father passed recently and we have the estate process going with my sister as executor. His bank account has enough to cover what we paid in funeral costs but there is 1 outstanding credit card debt so I was hoping funeral reimbursement superceded that.

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jul 30, 2022

Section 64.2-528 of the Code of Virginia sets out the order in which debts are to be paid when assets in the personal representative's possession are not sufficient to pay all debts and demands. This is known as an insolvent estate. Funeral expenses are third priority, after costs and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Aunt's estate going through probate and has only two living sibling. no spouse and no children. Will before Nov 2020.

Estate includes condo that has sale pending. Executor wants to "gift" living siblings their portion before the sale is closed. My mother is one of the siblings. We have had not contact from executor or attorney before this. Not sure how far along in the probate process they are. Is this... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jul 25, 2022

A probate estate is administered in the state where the decedent last resided prior to his or her death. In Virginia, this does not necessarily include a nursing home or hospital where the decedent last lived. Residence is more than a physical presence in a given locality; it is the place where a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: how to deposit a cashiers check when the payee is deceased

The cashier check is made out to the deceased and drawn on the deceased bank account. The deceased bank account is frozen.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 29, 2022

You will need to make a claim in the deceased's probate estate, assuming there is an estate. If the account has a beneficiary and there is no estate, you may be out of luck. Consult legal counsel if the check is big enough to be worthwhile.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: What happens when a life insurance policy says to the estatee? Does it spilt between all children

My mother died and had three life insurance policy’s. I was the sole beneficiary for all but one. The last one states it goes to the estatee, nobody was named. Who will that policy go to? Will it split between all children or will we have to go to court for one person to get it?

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jun 3, 2022

A life insurance policy payable to the estate should be deposited in the estate account. The personal representative of the estate should have opened an estate bank account and obtained a taxpayer identification number for the estate. The personal representative must qualify through an... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My stepsister sold house that my dad and her mom owned together without permission from her stepsiblings. No will. Ok?

Dad died in 12/2020 and her mom died early 2022. To my knowledge neither had a will. They live in Virginia.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on May 7, 2022

You might want a consultation with a Virginia lawyer to review the matter, but if the house was owned by dad and step-mom by entireties, and dad died first, the house belonged solely to step-mom when she died. I would think in a second marriage, the parties would title their home better, use a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: What process is there for reviewing an executor's actions for illegality after the estate has been closed? It is in VA.

I suspect the executor, my older brother, stole money from my mother's estate during his 4 year executorship. We trusted him and didn't question expenses until the final accounting showed in the last year he spent large sums, giving us only general labels, such as "trip to... Read more »

Scott Scherr
Scott Scherr
answered on Apr 20, 2022

You need to speak with a Virginia attorney about this. You should do so as soon as possible since there may be time deadlines for you to act.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Collections and Probate for Virginia on
Q: When a resident of Chesterfield , VA dies, never married or had any children, are medical bills automatically wiped off?

The decedent passed away in 2021 and we were told that the medical bills had to be paid off regardless of the passing away.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Mar 15, 2022

Yes, the bills have to be paid ... but not by you. The creditors may file a probate estate for the decedent and/or file a claim in an existing estate, and they may get paid from the estate assets. Far more rarely, if the medical treatment was "necessary," which medical treatment is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My grandparents passed away intestate years ago in Virginia. My mom & uncle, the only children of my grandparents,

Decide to move together into the home left by my grandparents . The home had no mortgages & they split the bills & taxes evenly.Switching the deed of the home over was done easily at the courthouse where my grandparents names were removed and their children's were added in their... Read more »

Shafeek Seddiq
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Shafeek Seddiq
answered on Feb 18, 2022

It all depends on the deed, it could go to your mom by right of survivorship, or after probate, either you mom buys out the heir(s) of your uncle or sells/partition. However, the best option is to take the recorded deed to the probate, estate, real estate lawyer nearest your mom to review and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My aunt's husband passed away and there was unpaid credit card debt. Does she owe this if it is not in her name?

What do we do if it's not in her name and only her deceased husbands name? There is one credit card that she is a joint user for. We have gotten death certificates so far but nothing else.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 10, 2022

The wife is not liable for credit card debt she did not contract to pay by being on the card or using the card. She may be liable if the charges were for something the law calls necessaries, like medical care, food, clothing, and other needs of her spouse, but that is liability for the necessary... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: I had a co-tenant safety deposit box with my mother. She passed away. The bank called and had me close the box and

Stated that the Contents belonged to me. Now I’m being threatened with a law suit that the contents go to the estate. I’m in Virginia. Is co-tenant the same as co-owner in Virginia? Who owns the contents?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 2, 2022

It is more complex than that, but could easily have been resolved if specified in a proper Will. If the reason you were a co-tenant on the box was for the convenience of your mother, then the box belongs to the estate. Basically, the law interprets your role as one of a trustee of something called... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Do I have to return my husband’s inherited property to his siblings after his death?

My father in law passed in 2013. His home and belongings stayed empty for 2 years before my husband, our young children and me bought out his siblings for the home. Before us moving in, the siblings and husband, split up their fathers belongings. My husband passed away in 2020 and the deed to our... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Dec 18, 2021

As I understand the facts, your father-in-law passed in 2013, and the personalty in the estate was divided among the heirs and the estate closed. Around 2015, you and your husband bought the house and its contents, and they belonged to him or both of you. Your husband passed in 2020, and now his... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If an executor of an estate fails to perform his duties and all property sits unclaimed for years, can heirs claim it?

My ‘well to do’ great-great aunt died in 2005 with a will naming her nephew as executor, he and his wife as beneficiaries, and my father as an heir. This nephew died intestate in 2003. His wife died in 2005, five months after my g-g aunt. 2 months prior to wife’s death she appointed a friend... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Oct 22, 2021

Your description is too imprecise to render an opinion, but it sounds like you need a probate attorney licensed in Virginia to re-open the estate of Wife. I don't understand from your description what Father's rights are. You call him an heir, but you tell me that the sole beneficiaries... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: After being married to and living with a man for 8 years we separated but did not get divorced. We had 2 boys.

We never lived together again. 10 years after we separated he had a heart attack, suffered brain damage, and had to be put in a home for 10 year. He recently passed away. All he has left is about $330K in his IRA. While incapacitated his mother created a will leaving all money to his sons and... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Oct 10, 2021

Property often transfers at death through nonprobate transfers, including survivorship on title, beneficiary designations on accounts, payable on death bank accounts (POD), and transfer on death investment accounts (TOD). Nevertheless, such transfers are still subject to legal requirements of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My Mother in law willed her home to all 6 of her children. Her eldest son died having only a wife no children. His wife

Just died in the middle of the sale of the home. My mother in laws will states that if any of her children that do not have children their part goes back to the other children. Can my sister in law will her part of inherited land that was willed to her husband from his mother to her sister or does... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 27, 2021

The exact timing matters and the exact wording of the will matters too. There is not enough information here to answer your question. You should schedule a consultation with a probate attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Elder Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a trustee legally represent a beneficiary in court and be her attorney? From any false accusations from her sibling

My question: Is a trustee (also an attorney) allowed to legally represent and defend a beneficiary in court and be her attorney if there are any possible future legal suits against this beneficiary from her litigious jealous sister? For example: for medical neglect? The trustee is NOW the new... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof
answered on Jun 25, 2021

I regret that I do not handle matters that involve Trusts and/or Trustees. Sorry.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If my attorney representing me while in probate is representing a client renting

My tenant is in default of there lease which my attorney wrote who is my attorney obligated to

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof
answered on Jun 2, 2021

In Virginia, an attorney cannot ethically represent two clients who are in a conflict of interest. In that case, the attorney must withdraw from the representation of both clients.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: What happens to a car loan when a cosigner dies?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on May 24, 2021

As long as the loan continues to be paid timely, nothing happens. If it is not paid, the lender enforces against the living signer and tries to enforce against the deaf citizens-signer. Upon learning of the demise, they may proceed to file a claim in the probate estate.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Family member in Alexandria VA. Not sure if he will survive. Don't know if has a will. need advice

Do I need to hire attorney to represent our family and handle the estate? If he passes away we do not know anything about life insurance or burial insurance but we will have to pay the bill for the funeral because we do not know any thing about his finances etc.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on May 21, 2021

I am sorry for your situation.

I always recommend consulting an attorney for an estate - depending on the estate we can save the family money and keep them from making mistakes in handling the estate. Consult a probate lawyer.

There's usually no hurry when someone passes...
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