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Virginia Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My father died years ago , now my stepmother has passed away also. Now her son has inherited all of my father's assets.

Is there anything I can possibly do ?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 27, 2019

If your father died without a will, then his children should have inherited about 2/3 of his estate at that time. If you did not inherit anything, then either he had a will leaving everything to his wife, or his estate was not probated, or his estate was probated and there was fraud on the court.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Insurance Defense and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My friend left me an insurance policy...family don't want to send it to me ...he died 3 months ago...how can I find out
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 10, 2019

If you know the issuer of the policy, you can contact them. If you see that a probate estate has been filed, you can check the filings there, identify the policy, and make a claim if the policy has been included in the estate. If they will not cooperate and those sources are unsuccessful, a lawyer... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If a parent had a child, outside of marriage, is that child due an inheritance if that parent dies in VA?

Grandparents passed with a will stating equal distribution among the surviving children. One of their children passed without a will. Sale of grandparents real estate to be divided among children of the recently deceased. Fathered a child outside of wedlock. Child was left out of listing of heirs... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Oct 10, 2019

This is a somewhat complicated issue which should be discussed with an experienced Virginia probate lawyer with the benefit of an illustration of the family tree. Generally, a child or descendant of a child, born out of wedlock, has the essentially the same rights as an heir as the other children... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: If my brother and sister didn't mention me in the probate process and listed that they are the only heirs,is it fraud

They knew about me and my father's septic business, but they never mentioned neither in their probate process.i just found out today that they are listed the only two heirs and his wife who is not either of our parents just passed away 4 months ago.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 2, 2019

If your father died without a will, yes, that is fraud to mention fewer than all of your father's children, unless he relinquished his parental rights sometime in the past (for example, gave you up to be adopted by someone else).

If your father had a will but disinherited you, you should...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My Boyfriend just passed away and we were together for 3 years he had 3 cars that were titled in his name what do I do

He had no siblings no children and both of his parents are deceased. What happens to the vehicles. He had no will either. This was in West Virginia Nicholas County..

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 27, 2019

I am very sorry for your loss. Without a spouse, siblings or children, his estate must be distributed to his parents' kin, half to the paternal side and half to the maternal side. Girlfriends and boyfriends never inherit under any state's laws of intestate succession. He would need to have... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: I became administrator appointed by the courts after my aunt left my mother out of everything.

I have sent my aunt the paperwork from the courts and the renter of the house by certified mail. They have not abided by the court papers and sent me any info or rent money for the house. The rent we believe is still going to my aunt who is not executor or administrator to the estate . Can we go... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2019

I think I answered this one before. You have a duty assumed in your appointment as Administrator to marshal the assets, and that means using the power of the court to determine what is going on. Whether you do that by discovery in a chancery case or show cause orders or other motions depends upon... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Need advice as administrator to will

My uncle passed with no will. My aunt and my mother are only surviving family . My aunt was the power of attorney before he died. After his death she sold property of the estate and gave other things away without consulting my mom. I became administrator of his estate. There is a house that is... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2019

Your options as I see them without an interview are:

1) Accept that your aunt is stealing from the estate. As Administrator of the estate who failed to protect the estate, you are likely to be personally liable for her thefts.

2) Resign and report the thefts to the Court. Let is be...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: VIRGINIA. Son dies intestate. No administrator declared. Mom heir of succession. She dies in July with Will. Now what

My fiancé died intestate on June 8. No Administrator of his estate was filed and his mother was heir of succession. She died In late July before filing the affidavit of heirship on the house. Does the house now enter her estate and probate as she died with a will? Is the rest of his debt/assets... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 14, 2019

In Virginia, real estate passes automatically subject to the filing of an estate or a Will. If there are debts or other assets, Unless you are named in the mother’s will or are owed some debt, you seem to have very little interest in this matter.

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Our mother died recently and some of her estate is in probate and they asked us if any of us have declared bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Record

Filed for Bankruptcy in Il: Reorganization (#1203036) Jan. 30, 2012

Bankruptcy Record

Filed for Bankruptcy in Ny: Liquidation (#0368257) Dec. 8, 2003

How do we find out if there are still creditors looking for payment? We are just interested, I... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 10, 2019

I don’t understand what you are asking. First off, I don’t understand how “part” of an estate is in probate. All probate assets should be identified in the Inventory. If some of your inheritance is outside of probate in life insurance, funds naming a beneficiary, or joint titles with rights... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My bf is on probation and trying to move to Florida with my family and I. They denied him

They said his obligations weren’t met even though his job is down there. If him and I married would they make it a mandatory transfer because my family would turn into his family too

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 3, 2019

It might be a good idea to have him discuss this with his criminal defense lawyer. Either way, the issue will be decided by Probation or by the judge, and a local, informed perspective matters.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Don't agree w/ proposed property distribution of dead parent. What happens if don’t sign Receipt 4 Personal Property?

Estate attorney is pressuring me to sign. Other beneficiary (also the Executor) likes the proposed distribution, so I’m the holdout. Jurisdiction is Fairfax, VA.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 28, 2019

Is there a specific issue? Have they responded to it? Is it what the will (or law) provides?

If you don't sign, then (1) you'll have to hire a lawyer to represent you when (2) the executor files in court to have the judge declare exactly what is to be paid to you. Your expenses: your...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: transferring a deed

I have been paying the taxes on property of deceased uncle and aunt since 2009.

I am the great nephew. All my great uncle brothers and Sisters are decease,

his wife was an only child. They have no children, I have been paying for maintenance since 2004.

I have reach out to... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 28, 2019

You need to consult a lawyer. Paying taxes and maintenance had no relationship to owning title. And, your entitlement to contribution depends on your record keeping and the statute of limitations. With a proper strategy, you might persuade the title owners to give or sell you title.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My spouse died without a will. He has 2 minor children with me and 1 minor child with another women.

Do I the spouse inherit his sole property and our joint property. Do i have to go to court to change everything to my name and close his accounts.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 12, 2019

I'm sorry for your loss. You need to see an experienced probate lawyer quickly - there are several different ways this could turn out as to property in his sole name. Assuming the 'joint' property was with survivorship, then that is yours but there is some simple paperwork that may need to be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Need help/guidance in estate claim/probate claim in VA.

Assistance with an estate situation that has in VA. Best of friends and also involved in formal business since 2007.

Brother is listed as executor of a will that was filed. The will is very vague drafted in 2009. It mentions nothing regarding our business relationships over the years.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 23, 2019

It is difficult to pursue a claim as small as $13,000 with a claim involving a declined probate. It isn't as simple as a General District Court case, because it needs to start with the opening of a probate and might lead to a contested and hostile petition for probate by you in spite of not being... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Probate law for Virginia. Do I need to hire an attorney to collect what I was owed by the estate?

A close friend and business associate recently past away and his brother is the executor of the estate. I have attempted to contact his brother many times over the past few months. At first he was communicative, but now he will not respond to email or telephone calls. Our business interests were... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 7, 2019

You need to file and pursue a claim timely or it is lost forever. The deadlines are strictly enforced. The effect is complete. I know if no basis for you to collect attorneys fees for pursuing your claim. You need to consult with counsel immediately.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can I challenge my fathers wife of less that 8 years on my fathers estate?

My father died by suicide on May 22nd 2018. He was living in Elk Creek at the time in Grayson County. At the time his wife of almost 8 years had been living in New York more than in Virginia with him. She was in Virginia when this happened. I would like to have become a co-executor of the estate... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Apr 15, 2019

Since you father died without a Will, the Virginia Code's provisions of Intestate Succession control the distribution of his estate. The Virginia Code's provisions for Intestate Succession are long and complicated. It would be best for you to hire a lawyer to provide you with a written opinion... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Friend on unsupervised probation, received a reckless on 80mph. Jail time or no?

She's on unsupervised probation for a minor drug offense, but was supervised previously. She just got a reckless for going 80 on the state lines of VA and NC, the speed changed quickly. She has her lawyer, but hasn't talked to her yet. In your opinion, will she stay out of jail time? She has done... Read more »

Daniel P Leavitt
Daniel P Leavitt answered on Mar 23, 2019

You cannot get reckless driving for driving 80 mph unless it was in a 60 mph zone. We practice regularly along the NC/VA border for interstate 95 and 85 and those are 70 mph zones.

Jail time depends on what court the case is in, and the speed cited if it is reckless by speed. However, you...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: This lawyer also doesn’t do any of the work like second lawyer said he works for a law firm that has lots of offices

And conference calls to guide them through what needs to be done. Now I after Doing reserch on unsupervised/supervised lawyer did lots of unesscary waste of resources. My father and aunt are both old and not for one second out of all 10 kids would believe they purposely took money this was for the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 14, 2019

If you have doubts about the handling of the estate, you need to consult with an experienced lawyer. An Internet website cannot review the bills, investigate the services, and evaluate the costs and benefits of challenging the fees or the distribution of assets. If you are asking whether you can... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can the court clerk decide to not appoint the executors as listed in the will and put all heirs on property deed?

We have one heir who probably won't sign papers for even distribution of property. Is there is an advantage here for co-executors to be appointed as listed in the will to avoid this one estranged heir and decide the outcome for the property?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 14, 2019

“Advantage” should have no relevance to the appointment of an executor in a testate estate, and title to the land passes in Virginia outside probate subject to the actions of the executor in administering the estate. In other words, your question makes no sense, and the uncooperative heir or... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: What happens if one of the witnesses to a holographic will dies before the person who wrote the will?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 16, 2019

If it was executed correctly, it's a self-proving will signed by two or three witnesses before a notary public, and it is no problem at all. If the testator went the lawyer-free way, Virginia Code § 64.2-403(B) provides that: "A will wholly in the testator's handwriting is valid without further... Read more »

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