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Virginia Estate Planning Questions & Answers

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 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 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 »

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 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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: I live in a. and my brother died without a will. I need to become personal representative to open an estate checking acc

Estate is less than100,000

Live in Va. brother died in Hawaii.

Karen L. Rowell answered on Mar 11, 2019

You will need to contact the Court Clerk in the jurisdiction in Hawaii where he died and go there to qualify on his estate. You will need a certified copy of his death certificate. You should be able to reimburse yourself out of the estate assets for expenses incurred in the administration of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: Can an executor of a will sell a house under his control for $1.00?

My brother-in-law was an abusive, substance-abusing man who was not involved in the first 20 years of his daughter’s life. Ten years ago, after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, he decided he wanted to be a ‘father’ to his daughter. He told his disabled daughter (unable to work due to... Read more »

Karen L. Rowell answered on Mar 11, 2019

To sell the house for less than it's value would be a breach of fiduciary duty. However, if the other beneficiaries disclaimed their shares it would pass to whoever would take if they had predeceased, which could result in a larger share, or perhaps even the entire interest, passing to the... 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 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 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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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: Can a life estate be granted to income through a premarital agreement?

James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Dec 15, 2018

Virginia has a premarital agreement act in Chapter 8 of Title 20 of the Code of Virginia. Under Virginia's premarital agreement act the fiances may address almost any legal issue arising from the marriage, including estate planning as follows:

Virginia Code § 20-150. "Content of...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on

Q: I got a copy of my grandmas will from courthouse. Is it possible there's another will?

My aunt, who is the admin of the estate, has told me conflicting things from the copy of my grandmothers will I received at the courthouse. In the copy I received from the courthouse, me and my two siblings are to split a 4th of my grandmothers estate because my father passed when I was younger.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 3, 2018

I wouldn’t be a bad idea to retain Virginia counsel to review the Inventory and First Account, but investment accounts with designated beneficiaries generally pass outside the Will and the probate estate. So, if you are not listed as a beneficiary of those accounts, the Will may not matter in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: Dad passes his life insurance company is writing the check to his wife that he hasn't lived with for over 15 years.

Dad passes his life insurance company is writing the check to his wife that he hasn't lived with for over 15 years i have lived with him my whole life. Will they do the same with his 401k pension plan and all of his investments since he has no will or beneficiaries. I am not her biological child... Read more »

Sharon R. Moss answered on Oct 23, 2018

For life insurance policies, 401k accounts, IRA, and some investment accounts, your father would have been asked to provide a beneficiary on the paperwork he filled out to open them. Whoever he listed as a beneficiary is who will receive those funds.

In Virginia, if a person dies without a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: How do I update a will with new information/different inheritors?

Sharon R. Moss answered on Oct 9, 2018

You can either have a new will drafted which revokes the old will, or you can have an addendum to the current will. If there are significant changes, it is best to have a new will drafted.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: Do I write a rental INCOME check to my uncle's estate? my cousins want check written to them.

MY uncle and i owned my grandmother house together, which i have rented for several years and he pasted away Aug 2018. The renter pays me. I wrote check to my uncle's ESTATE for half the rent less expenses and my cousins want me to write a check directly to them. They say there is no will and no... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 4, 2018

You need a consult with a competent lawyer. First, it isn’t clear whether you owe rent. Co-owners don’t pay rent, though your contracts and deed may reverse that. Second, you need to understand title before you pay anyone anything. Payments to the non-owner may not satisfy any rent that is due.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law and Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: Alzheimer's patient petitioned by spouse specific transfer

Is this sale of house include change of will. Does Alzheimer's patient in assisted living inherit estate if death of spouse

Jay Braddock Jackson answered on Sep 27, 2018

Having an illness that makes one incompetent to handle funds (among other things) does not mean the individual cannot inherit. In other words, the patient’s right to inherit is not impacted in any way by his illness. It may mean that a guardian will need to make certain decisions or request... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: Can I make a provision in my will for an adult child who is not very responsible with money?

Jay Braddock Jackson answered on Aug 24, 2018

A provision in a will may not be as effective as you would like. There are other estate planning documents and instruments that may be more effective. If you don’t have confidence that your adult child will make good decisions about spending inherited money, you can put those decisions in the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on

Q: My question is my grandfather wants to leave me his house. But we are unsure about how to go about it. And any issues.

Thomas Woodward Ashton answered on Aug 13, 2018

This is more of a wills/estate planning question. Depending on things like your age and whether or not your grandfather has clear title to the house, it may be a pretty straightforward answer. However, there are some important questions that need to be answered before you all take any action on his... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Father is trustee on mother's trust. After mother's death, father took out multiple mortgages on martial residence which

was to go to daughter upon mother's death. When father dies, who pays for mortgages, father's estate or daughter?

Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 9, 2018

You need a lawyer to review the notes and the deeds of trust or mortgages as well as the language in the trust and the applicable state law. If he had the power to use the corpus for his own needs, the daughter may be out of luck. If the notes are his and he had resources and he violated his... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on

Q: What is required to settle the estate and financial accounts of a deceased parent without an original will?

We have a copy of the original will. How do we find out what insurance policies she had?

Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 7, 2018

The original Will makes things much easier, because you may otherwise need to prove that the original wasn't destroyed intentionally by the testator. If the Will matches the intestate succession, the process is likely to be easier, but, if faced with a challenge, you will definitely need counsel.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: My grandmother is living in a home owned by her now deceased parents. She is last surviving child. Is home legally her

The home is in the deceased parents name and the question is whether my grandmother, the last surviving child, has the legal right to sign the home over to one of her children.

Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 21, 2018

The answer depends on a number of factors including, at least:

1) How the house was titled to her parents;

2) where each parent resided at time of death;

3) When each parent died;

4) Where the House is located;

5) Who anywhere in the chain of title had a...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on

Q: My sis is administrator on our late mother’s estate. SHe has to provide a report to the court about what she has done.

They said after a certain date I can request a report. How do I do that? Do I have to file a motion? Do I write a letter? I’m just lost and have no money for a lawyer.

Also she has taken a significant amount of money that I know she will not account for she says she doesn’t have any... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 13, 2018

Look up and call the Commissioner of Accounts for your Circuit. Make an appointment and describe the issues accurately and succinctly.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on

Q: My adult children's father passed,away in carrollton va. fathers name & live in girlfriend is on estate.

Are his biological children intitled to his portion of the home, as the girlfriend recently had her name added to the home, and is selling it. The father told me the kids were taken care of, but he passed away & the live in girlfriend

Is saying she knows nothing about that.

He's... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 15, 2018

Someone needs to pay for a legal consultation and potentially an investigation before the house is sold. You need a title search and a court record search for a Will.

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