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Virginia Probate Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My mother passed, had no will, my sister was handling the estate. She works for a criminal attorney that is now handling

My mothers estate? But mind you he couldn't represent me in criminal court because of conflict of interest cause my sister works for him. Should be the same with the estate?? I asked my sister for a copy of estate paper work and I'm getting no response? I need to know what my rights are... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Nov 12, 2022

In my opinion lawyers who focus on one area of the law shouldn't dabble in areas of law they aren't familiar with. It can breed malpractice claims.

There are a lot of missing pieces in your short question. I suggest you consult an experienced probate law firm for a consultation...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My mother passed, had no will, my sister was handling the estate. She works for a criminal attorney that is now handling

My mothers estate? But mind you he couldn't represent me in criminal court because of conflict of interest cause my sister works for him. Should be the same with the estate?? I asked my sister for a copy of estate paper work and I'm getting no response? I need to know what my rights are... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Nov 11, 2022

If you wish to be informed, you need to file the correct form, particularly if you previously waived notice. Paying a lawyer to coordinate this may be helpful.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: I would like to know how do I move forward on finding what assets my dad who passed away last year had.

My sister sold his house in Chicago and moved him to Virginia three months before he passed away. I checked the Prince William County Probate office and a Will has not been filed. What Kind of attorney should I look for? I need an Virginia attorney.

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

Attorneys who help people with property of an estate of a decedent, typically identify themselves by one or more of the following practice areas: probate, estate administration, elder law, or wills and estate planning. Usually, the last residence of the decedent is the proper place or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: Suspect Trust having funds dispersed illegally. CA Orange County trust but I'm in VA and executor in Seattle. What to do

Stepmom/Bio Dad created Joint Trust in 2004. Stepmom began making changes to Trust in 2018/19 while Dad having dementia. Wouldn't say what she did . She died in 2020. Financial POA went to elder twin daughter of stepmom. She wouldn't give any info. Then she died in 2022. Now younger... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Oct 1, 2022

There is no competent way such specifics can be resolved in an Internet forum outside of privilege and without reviewing the trust documents. Start with a lawyer in your state, and, if it turns to litigation, you might need counsel that has jurisdiction over the trust or the trustee in California... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: How do I obtain a death certificate…

My fiancée of whom we shared a child together passed away unexpectedly from a stroke. And of course it’s a case of I ntestate succession. Vital statistics customer service told me that since our daughter is a minor and I am not next of kin I can’t obtain a death certificate. Is this true??... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Sep 14, 2022

Interesting issue. His daughter plainly has standing, and you are surely eligible to be her next friend. But, let's start simpler by approaching this through the need you have. If he has an estate, are his parents filing it? You don't need the death certificate if they get it unless... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Hello iam the beneficary of my mother's estate and it is in the will to sell her house and to split the preceding with

My 6 siblings and one will not get out for me to sell the house in virginia. What can I do without having to go through probate

Anthony M. Avery
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Anthony M. Avery
answered on Sep 2, 2022

Without Probate, the Will means nothing. Any of the Heirs as Tenants In Common can file a Partition action.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Who gets the house if both husband and wife die without a will and it never went to probate in Virginia?

My sister and her husband are owners of a home. Both have died and their son took over the house but never put it through probate. He is now dying and doesn’t have a will. He has diminished mental capacity at this time. Since the house is still in my dead sister and brother-in-law’s names,... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 31, 2022

The correct answer depends on the form of title and the order of the passing of the grantors, so you start with reading the deed and an interview. But, in a Virginia estate, the property passes outside of probate subject to being recaptured for creditors. If the son is disabled and potentially... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My brother died he and a friend bought a house years ago and he willed everything to me how do I get my half of equity

I live in PA and the house is in VA, what would I have to do to get my half of the equity in the property

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 27, 2022

The answer depends on a number of issues, but, at least theoretically, you already own the property subject to the estate’s need to sell it to pay creditors. What you need to do is determine the liquidity of the estate and the complete title to the property, and, if you share title, determine the... Read more »

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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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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 »

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