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Virginia Probate 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 »

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 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 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 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 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 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 Probate for Virginia on

Q: My father was California Resident and died in 2010. He had a Will which poured over into a trust thus avoiding probate.

The trust assets have been distributed except for a small lot of land in Virginia that is titled in his name only and was never moved to the trust. I now have a buyer for this property and I have had 5 different lawyers tell me 5 different things regarding "retitling" and selling this land.... Read more »

Ben F Meek III answered on Dec 28, 2018

Typically, probate is required to pass title to real estate of a person who died as the sole owner. If the "pour-over" will was probated, in California, a probate in Virginia would be considered ancillary. Either way, the will probated in Virginia would transfer title to the property into the... 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, 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 Probate for Virginia on

Q: What elements are required for summons of heir publication.

Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 15, 2018

If you are going to do it yourself, the smartest thing is to do it the way lawyers do it: Open the Code and do exactly what it says. The Code is published on-line, and all I'd be doing is cutting and pasting it into this response.

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 Probate for Virginia on

Q: Which law will govern the probate of a will if I am the spouse and the will is being challenged by a "girlfriend"?

Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 25, 2018

The law of the jurisdiction where the decedent resides at the time of their death will be applied to determine the validity of the Will. In some cases, if the Will was created while the decedent resides elsewhere, that law will apply.

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.

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Virginia on

Q: Can landlord keep next of kin off property after a death for next of kin to appraise property?

My father lived in a house owned by his former MIL and worked the farm for her. His 2nd wife passed away in 2000 and he continued to live on property until his death last week. He had lived there since 1987. He remarried in 2008. My former MIL is not allowing anyone, including my stepmother,... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 19, 2018

If she refuses to allow you in the property to have an appraisal performed, you will need to get a court order that requires her to let you on the property.

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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.

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

Q: This is an Intestate Succession Question concerning adult child with no spouse or children passing away Jan 2018.

My Half-Sister passed away Jan 2018. My Mother had her before me, was divorced and the Father obtained custody. From what I understand my Mother did not have a relationship with her and I never met her. Since my Sister had no spouse or children, nor did she have a will, I understand the parents... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on May 6, 2018

Interstate succession in Birginia is as follows:

all to the surviving spouse, unless there are children (or their descendants) of someone other than the surviving spouse in which case, one-third goes to the surviving spouse and the remaining two-thirds is divided among all children....
Read more »

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

Q: My daddy recently passed away in Arizona. I currently live in Virginia. Do I need a probate lawyer in Arizona or Va

My daddy had lived in Arizona for a few years and his will is missing but I know he has one bc he is a retired firefighter

Richard Sternberg answered on May 5, 2018

The probate needs to be filed in the county where your father resided at the time of death. If he was merely visiting, that doesn’t count. If he changed his residence to Arizona, by, for example, buying a house, signing a lease for a term, changing his drivers license, or other indicia of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Libel & Slander and Probate for Virginia on

Q: My mother died and left my only sibling, a "deed of trust" which reduced me to 1/3 of estate. How can I contest this?

My sister has negatively interfered with my relationships with my mother and father for years. She lives in the same town as they do (did, in my mother's case), and I live 7,000 miles away. I traveled to Virginia to be with my mother last December during her last days on Earth in a hospice. My... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on May 4, 2018

It certainly sounds like you need a lawyer. What I don't read in your story is a question. Let me infer that you are asking how to find a good estate litigator. I suggest you visit Avvo.com. Navigate to Find a Lawyer. Type in the county where your mother resided at time of death. Type in "probate"... Read more »

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