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Virginia Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: Estate question at Mother’s request- my father died 4 year ago. All assets were held jointly or with TOD to my mother.

Assets include property, bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds and vehicles. There is no debt whatsoever. After fathers death, my mother had all assets, except vehicles, changed to her name with a TOD to my 2 siblings and me. Property deeds were also changed to include a TOD. Question 1- when she... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 10, 2022

All great questions, and NOT suitable for a quick internet messaging site such as this. There are a lot of variables you haven't considered and not fully understanding them can cost you thousands.

Elder Law Attorneys handle this type of matter and can give you good advice. Most of...
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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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My mother lives in Newport News VA. She wants to leave me her house that still has a mortgage. What is the best way
Sonja Aoun
Sonja Aoun answered on Dec 17, 2021

Generally speaking, a house that has a mortgage on it can still be transferred upon the owner's death. Most people use a will or a trust to do this, but it does matter which type of trust is used. For example, if someone attempts to leave their house to another person and retitle it into the... Read more »

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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 Divorce, Estate Planning, Family Law and Workers' Compensation for Virginia on
Q: What happens when someone's in the process of getting a divorce by a online divorce site but passes before its processed

My fiancée passed away and he had filed for divorce but he was told he had to send $66 more and then the papers would be mailed out but he passed before he could pay the $66 can i do anything to stop his wife from getting his Medicare set aside assistance because he didn't want her to have... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 21, 2021

She is the widow, and you are not.

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.
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 and Tax Law for Virginia on
Q: What is the inheritance order in Virginia when there is no will?

My mother inherited two vacant lots when a friend passed away. They were sold recently in a tax sale. A lady from a Recovery company contacted me saying that they would get a third , I would get a third and my nephew's would get a third to split three ways from the tax sale. Now my mother... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Oct 8, 2021

If a Virginia resident dies intestate, without a will, the state essentially writes a will for that person - the law of intestate succession. Virginia's law of intestate succession appears in Chapter 2 of Title 64.2 of the Code of Virginia, specifically Sections 200 and 201 describe the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My sister (66) receives disability SSI and medicaid. She lives with my mother (88). When my mother passes is my sister

allowed to have home placed in her name without losing her benefits? They reside in Va. There is currently a reverse mortgage on the home,but my mother has a large life insurance policy to pay they lean off. My sister has lived with my mother her entire life and has no other assets. I live in Ky... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 3, 2021

Ownership of a home is not disqualifying, so that is not much of a concern. But if your sister is going to inherit anything else besides the home such as cash or life insurance proceeds or a car, etc., your mother would be doing your sister a huge favor by contacting an estate planning attorney to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Civil Rights and Communications Law for Virginia on
Q: Can my father's living siblings & children successfully fight for the right to properly bury my father who has no will.

My father is born and raised in Danville, VA. He remarried to make his oldest daughter a legal citizen which wasn't completed. His baby mother has refused to allow us to have his body for our funeral & burial. They expect our entire family to drive 8 hours to visit my father, plus they are... Read more »

Benjamin Inman
Benjamin Inman answered on Sep 21, 2021

Im sorry that you lost your father. Losing a parent at any age can be extremely difficult.

I dont think there is enough information in your question to give you an answer. My best guess from reading between the lines here is that your father died outside of Virginia in a state where he was...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: How do primary beneficiaries of an IRA work? What about secondary beneficiaries?

Wills and Estates

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2021

I have seen the terms use incorrectly before, so it is useful to have context, but the usual meaning go a primary beneficiary is the person, persons, or entities that are first in line to receive the proceeds upon the death of the grantor. A secondary or contingent beneficiary takes only if the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Employment Law, Estate Planning and Personal Injury for Virginia on
Q: If a witness in a case has a criminal record, how does that impact their credibility if they are asked to testify?
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Aug 31, 2021

A witness may be asked about felony convictions and misdemeanors involving moral turpitude - lying, cheating and stealing. These types of crimes reflect on the credibility of the witness.

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
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 for Virginia on
Q: I am the executor of my aunts will divided as follows- my father 35% Me 35% brother 1 15% brother 2 15%

Father passed a month after aunt did. So where does his portion go, his wife is still alive. And if it goes to 'him' does it go to my mother (his wife) or to my fathers estate?

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Aug 11, 2021

If a Virginia resident dies intestate - without a will, his or her assets, including the present right to an inheritance, are part of his or her estate and would pass, if at all, according to the law of intestate succession, as administered by the personal representative of the estate - an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI, Employment Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What comes out in discovery during a lawsuit?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 1, 2021

The answers to the interrogatories asked, the documents subject to a document request, the admissions that the parties make in response to requests, the oral answers to depositions of parties and witnesses, and the documents and things that are sought to be examined. What those things are is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: Hi. My father recently passed away and myself and my sister are his heirs. There is no will. What do we do from here?

There are 2 properties in Puerto Rico in his name of which one shows his ex-wife listed. He divorced many years ago and to my knowledge there was a separation of their properties done. Where can we gain the knowledge of whether or not the property is indeed his ex wife's as well? Also, what... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 27, 2021

It very much matters where your father was domiciled when he passed. You should consult counsel licensed in that state. If the only assets are Virginia real estate, you might avoid formal probate, but, in all likelihood, you'll need a probate in Virginia and an ancillary probate in Puerto... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I'm looking for a legal service to take on joint partnership in a fixit upper property. My partner is refusing to sell.

I bought a fixit upper property from an auction with a partner to fix the house and sell it. After remodeling the house, my partner rented the property for the last 5 years to 3rd. party and refused to sell nor give me my share of the rental income. The deed in both our names half and half.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 26, 2021

If this property is in Virginia, the correct pleading is a Petition for Sale in Lieu of Partition, and, under Virginia law, the legal fees are paid off the top from the sale. As such, most attorneys will want some form of retainer to cover the initial fees, but those can be reimbursed at the end,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation, Civil Litigation, Employment Law and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: What are the different ways an attorney finds out information about a case through discovery?
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jul 16, 2021

Request for Admissions, Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If my old but current will says give my house to my kids, but I title the house jointly with my fiance, what happens?

Will that directive be ignored and my fiance gains ownership as surviving owner? Or will the will override the title? I understand that I should have the two (title and will) in sync, but in the interim, what would happen upon my death?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 13, 2021

The two should be in synch, because having them inconsistent can be used to confess and delay proceedings when everyone needs certainty and dispatch. The inconsistency can be used as evidence that your testamentary intent was uncertain or that you were confused. Unless you can be proven... Read more »

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 Employment Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Why do people sometimes try to avoid going to court by settling? In other words, what is the fear?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 24, 2021

Losing?

Major legal expense?

Inability to collect?

Witnesses forget the facts?

Party says something stupid?

Risk... risk... risk.

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