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Virginia Probate Questions & Answers
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.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: can a financial conservator force me to take my deceased MIL's trailer?

The financial conservator sent me a letter saying that since i paid for the funeral then as reinbursment of the estate that i could take the trailer. I dont want the trailer. It would cost way more to have it moved off the lot then what i paid for the funeral. if i dont sign her form, then what... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 2, 2020

Why don't you start with explaining that to the personal representative (PR), noting that you would like to be reimbursed for the funeral expenses, and the trailer won't accomplish that. If the PR is acting fairly and honestly, you will detect that immediately. If not, you might need to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Estate in VA. My GM died in '96, My uncle the estate executor died in 2015. Will may not have been probated. What next?

Grandma was sick and stayed with daughter in NC a few months b4 her death in NC. Do you have to probate both states, if Grandma was just there temp due to sickness. Executor died and no co-exc named in will, however; Grandma's will states heirs split property equally. What are the next steps... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 28, 2020

If Grandma was a resident of Virginia, as can be shown by a variety of indicators, like where she had residential property, where she had a driver's license, where she paid utility bills, etc., then the probate is where she resided. Temporary residence during a terminal ailment doesn't... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My aunt has recently died and named an executor in her will. Are they automatically made administrators by the Court?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 28, 2020

Virginia still uses the old, pre-UPC terms for fiduciaries, so the terms are executor/executrix, administrator/administratrix, and administrator/administratrix c.t.a. Often, the UPC term

personal representative is used to include all of those terms. A Executor administers a will in a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Federal Crimes, Probate and Gov & Administrative Law for Virginia on
Q: Can my probation officer make me bring ib my pills that is a narcotic to my appointment

The office ia at the jail and I was thinking all I need to do is bring a print out of the script instead of the pills them self

Susan Fremit
Susan Fremit answered on Feb 26, 2020

Ask your probation officer whether you should bring the pills in their container or whether you should simply bring a pharmacy printout.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My grandmother just passed February 6th. I've lived with her since January 2015 and was her caretaker up until her death

Our eldest cousin was her power of attorney and is listed the only one on her will. What is my rights to living at the resisidence

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 26, 2020

I'm sorry for your loss.

You may not have many rights, at all. Your phrase 'only one on her will' doesn't give me guidance: is she the only person named to inherit grandmother's property, or is she the named executor? Does the executor have authority over the real...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a probate Judge change the deed of distribution. In other words can he change the distribution breakdown.

Change he/she change the percentage on three different properties so all three equal 100% for each person.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 16, 2020

You have not provided any facts in order for us to review your question in context with the estate. Was there a will? What did it say about the property? Were there any other assets distributed other than real estate?

And there is no official named "Probate Judge" in Virginia,...
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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can real estate be sold in VA if the will has not gone through probate?

My grandfather passed away in late 2019. His will says that all belongings should be divided equally between the 4 children. My uncle is named executor but he has yet to file the will into the probate court. Can he try and sell my grandfather's home to a family member for half of fair market... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 16, 2020

In Virginia, real estate passes outside of probate. If the unappointed executor is acting in derogation of the Will, and the Will has not been filed, you need to file the Will and move to appoint an Administrator cum testamento annexo (c.t.a.). This needs to happen now and it wouldn't be a bad... Read more »

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