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Virginia Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: In VA, do you include a simple joint checking account with deceased in estate inventory? Father and daughter.
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 27, 2020

Have you consulted an experienced lawyer? There are a lot of considerations that many people don't know, such as the answer to your question. At least once a month I save my clients a lot of money - a multiple of my consultation fee - because of those details.

That said, if you look...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My deceased fathers estate was handled by an appointed firm who also handled claim against his llc that won 43000

The appointed commissioner of revenue also had been asked prior to the appointment of an executor to represent myself and while in a consult with senior partner in firm he had me bring important paperwork in that he most surely copied because he took them out of conference room for around thirty... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 24, 2020

I have no idea what you are asking. First, I think you are referring to the Commissioner of Accounts for your jurisdiction, but the executor or your father's estate would have been appointed by the Register of Wills, not the Commissioner of Accounts. If you did not petition to become the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Now that I have a answer about the lawsuit against my brother inlaw who has passed.

Now they want my husband to settle up with them because he was sole heir. We dont know what to do!

My brother inlaw denied to his dieing breath it was untrue what my nephew accused him of but the lawyer said we owe him money for the pending lawsuit he had on going when my brother inlaw... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 14, 2020

The type of lawyer you need is a probate lawyer who also does litigation. If you are representing the estate and the estate is in Virginia, you may use the estate's assets to pay the litigator as needed. You can find an attentive and talented lawyer by searching the Find a Lawyer function at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: There was a pending lawsuit against my brother inlaw who passed. My brother inlaw was accused of molesting his nephew

25 years ago. Brother inlaw denies all allegations and nephew has no witnesses or proof. He did not say anything about this issues until he found out my brother inlaw was dieing and thought he had a lot of money.

My husband took care of his brother with ALS for 2 yrs and left everything to... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 7, 2020

I’m not sure what you are asking, but it sounds like you need a lawyer to review and file a demurrer. If the estate has no money and no claim can be made for fraudulent transfer, I think the case is likely over. Negotiating pro se is a waste of time.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: In VA: can the deceased's lawfirm file a change of address for the deceased w/o notifying next of kin?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 4, 2020

It is impossible to answer a bare question such as you posted without any context - is the firm the executor of the estate or do they represent the executor? If so, then yes they can.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My father's will left me 36 acres of land. It was owed jointly with mom. She sold 5 acres of it without my knowledge?

Dad wanted me & my brother to be co-trustees. My mother redid the trust and named my brother & herself as co-trustees. They tried to keep Dad's will out of my hands. I finally got a copy from her lawyer. Seems fishy to me.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 27, 2020

If the land was held by entireties with his wife, and if he predeceased her, it wasn’t his to give in his will. The land passed outside of probate to the survivor. Nevertheless, there are confusing references to trusts, and trusts imply inter vivos grants prior to demise or special titling of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Father passed away 10 years ago was married at the time of death but since she has remarried is she entitled to estate

My sister was the holder of the will. I was told she lost the will which we all knew how he wanted the estate to be left to his children. Since she lost the will the court suggested we do a estate transfer. If we do the estate transfer it not only will go to his children but the now ex wife since... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 25, 2020

The remarriage is irrelevant. The theft of the Will by the sister is a felony, but it must be proven. After all, storing the Will with one of the heirs or beneficiaries was just plain stupid. The widow is entitled to her intestate succession or her spousal share (often called dower) rights, which... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a certified copy of a will be probated if original is lost? In Virginia.

Mom had dementia. she had the original of her will but then lost it. My sister who is her executrix has a certified copy of the will but is told she can't use that to probate. Since the original is lost, can her certified copy be used?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 20, 2020

The idea that she "lost it" is a problem. You need put the matter on before the court rather than the probate clerk and prove that your mother did not lose it for the purpose of destroying it. Even if she had dementia, she might have been lucid enough to lose it or destroy it... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My brother misled everyone about the will & the expensive jewelry pieces are "missing".

ROANOKE, VA NOT MASON, OH...My brother is the executer of my aunt's will that died Nov 2019. He's lied to all of us, supposedly the only 3 expensive pieces of jewelry are "missing" & he told the insurance inventory there wasn't any. He's a jerk to everyone, partly... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 5, 2020

This is the second time I've read this question, but I still don't have an answer you can DIY without a lot more interviewing and potential filing. You need a lawyer, and the lawyer may be able to petition for you to be executor because your brother declines to serve. If the estate is too... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Fathers wife needs his children to sign papers for her to sell his house why would this be?

I have no clue of his will

He married her after he bought house but is trying to sell but cant because his children need to sign paperwork and I have no clue what this means I live in Fredericksburg va the house is in deptford nj

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jul 15, 2020

Not sure of your question. But it sounds like NJ Intestate Secession probably makes the Decedents' issue Heirs-At-Law along with the surviving spouse. And all Heirs are needed to convey.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My father passed away in 2016. My stepmom and step sister never called me. They stole his will. Can I challenge
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jul 15, 2020

The challenge that you may make will depend on the status of your father's Estate, whether it is still in the probate court or was already closed by the probate court.

3 Answers | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Mom passes intestate in Fairfax Co VA, how can I file her final tax returns after the POA ends?

All assets were liquidated into a POD account years ago, all current income taxes, funeral costs, and debts have already been paid. Only final taxes on bank interest, a modest Social Security income, final IRA distribution costs and the POD account will remain when Mom passes. Does the estate have... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 10, 2020

I'm sorry for your loss. You may not have to do very much as everything was POD. And that included 'probate'.

I suggest you consult an attorney - in Virginia - to advise you and reassure you of where you are. Elder Law attorneys are familiar with estate law and procedure -...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: With VA slayer statute, who pays slayers debts ?

This was a murder suicide. I understand slayer deemed to have died first in these cases and victims family becomes heirs to everything. What happens to skaters debt, and who pays slayers funeral expenses?

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on May 24, 2020

The Virginia slayer statute does not address the slayer's debts or funeral expenses.

When a person dies, the debts become debts of the estate. Funeral expenses are normally paid by the next of kin.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Who pays utilities bills?I'm delayed for qualification of Executor due to Covid.Courts not open. I'm beneficiary of home

I am the executor. But I have to wait to be qualified. Courts have been closed since March. Everything is delayed due to Supreme Court ruling in Virginia. My parent passed in early May. Bills need to be payed. I am willing to pay from my own money to keep power, water etc going as I already lived... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 21, 2020

I'm not sure that you have any duties until the Court appoints you as Executor or Administrator, but it would seem to be in your interest to pay the bills to keep the utilities turned on. In many places, utility companies have either voluntarily or by state orders indicated that they will not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My wife is the trustee of her mother's estate. Can beneficiaries file against assets she and I hold jointly?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 11, 2020

File what? Where? For what? After she has mishandled the trust in what way?

Obviously, your ability to describe your actual issue is severely impaired. But, the Internet is not a place to fix that. The things you are not telling us are not privileged and can come back to haunt you. Get a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My wife just passed we were living apart for 5 years no formal separation agreement. She opened credit cards on her own

And was with freedom agency. Am I responsible for paying it ,no will, she did buy my son a truck in her name and the house is in both mine and her name

James D. Williams
James D. Williams answered on May 9, 2020

Virginia would not consider you divorced unless you filed for divorce. From there, intestacy procedures and the terms of the contract for the credit cards would apply. In theory, you should be able to contact the credit card companies and close out the accounts if they are solely in your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: In reference to Section 64.2-400 of the Code of Virginia, is it necessary to specifically state the document or list?

In my father's will he has written, verbatum; "Pursuant to Section 64.2-400 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, I may leave a signed writing indicating certain specific bequests or certain items of my tangible personal property that I direct to be distributed to the persons specified... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Apr 14, 2020

Virginia Code Section 64.2-400 refers to a separate list of bequests that will be treated as if they were set forth in the will. The separate writing need not qualify as a will itself. This way, the testator may draw up and change a list that should be honored by the executor or personal... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Probate Accounting: How to handle accounting when heirs put money into estate bank account to pay for home rehab?

My mother died last year and my brother and I were the only two heirs named in the will. I am the executor.

The will states that the house is to be sold and proceeds (along with other estate assets) be divided between us.

The issue was the house was very outdated and had bad water... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 11, 2020

You would account for that those deposits as loans made by you and your brother to the estate (loan proceeds) and when the estate has the funds to repay them then you would account for those disbursements as loan repayments.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My mother died in December of 2018. She did not have a will. She instructed all 6 kids that my middle brother was to be

Over her affairs. My son and I along with my mother’s youngest son were living in the home at the time she passed. The youngest son is not working and I have been paying all the bills and taking care of all the maintenance of the home. He has had opportunities to work and not gone. Can I legally... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr. answered on Apr 10, 2020

If a Virginia resident dies intestate, without a will, his or her real property "drops like a rock" into the names of the heirs as owners. A real estate affidavit may be filed to give public notice of those owners in coparcenary, now tenants in common. Co-owners of property have equal... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If my father was my grandfather's executor and my father passes away does that responsibility come down to me?

My father was my grandfather's executor and my aunt and uncle were the administrators. My father passed away and I became his executor of estate and I am his only heir. Does his role as executor for his father's estate come to me? Or does it cancel him out and only the two administrators... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 3, 2020

There is a whole lot of information you didn't provide - and you're in a complex situation. Before you make any (more) mistakes consult an experienced probate lawyer for an overview of all estates and advice on how to handle them.

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