Northern Virginia Probate
Most estates must go through probate before the property is distributed to the beneficiaries. This is a multi-step process that includes validating the will, inventorying the estate, paying debts, completing accountings, and distributing the assets. A Northern Virginia probate attorney can simplify the process. Your lawyer can handle the tasks for you and protect the estate against legal claims. The legal team can also assist with coordinating estate and income tax issues and ensure that guardians or executors fully understand their duties.
Contact PJI Law to find out how our seasoned Northern Virginia probate attorneys can help you. During the consultation, you can discuss your situation and determine if you need legal help.
Some assets can skip probate in Virginia. These assets might be directly disbursed to the beneficiaries. Non-probate assets might include:
Probate Process in Virginia
The executor begins probate by taking the will to the Circuit Court. The Clerk of the Circuit Court will validate the will. Then, the executor will inventory the assets and submit a list to the Commissioner of Accounts. The executor also must file an accounting of income and expenses with the Commissioner of Accounts.
The executor also must pay all the bills and file the tax returns. Creditors might make claims against the estate at this time. If that happens, it’s up to the executor to settle them. It’s also possible that someone will challenge the validity of the will. This will be settled in probate court. Finally, the executor will distribute the assets according to the terms of the will.
Contesting a Will
Most wills pass through probate without any legal challenges. However, it is possible to contest a will if you are an “interested party,” as defined by law, and you have legal grounds. Common grounds for contesting a will include competency, undue influence, fraud, and misappropriation.
Our Northern Virginia probate attorneys have helped clients on both sides of legal challenges. If you think that a will isn’t valid, we will go over your claim to determine if you have standing and grounds to file a challenge. Then, we can submit the challenge on your behalf.
On the other hand, if you believe the will is valid but someone else is contesting it, we can evaluate your case and defend the will against the legal challenge so you can continue to move through probate.
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How Long Does Probate Take?
The length of probate depends on different factors, including the size of the estate. If you are probating a simple estate, you might be able to complete the process in several months. However, if the estate is large or someone contests the validity of the will, it could take a year or longer to complete probate. You can expedite the process with help from a Northern Virginia probate attorney. Your attorney can handle legal challenges and more, allowing you to reach the end of probate much faster.
Do Executors Get Paid?
If you are the executor of an estate going through probate, you can get compensated for the work you do. You can seek reasonable compensation, as well as payment for expenses incurred, including attorney’s fees. The Commissioner of Accounts will determine a reasonable amount for your case. It will likely be in line with the amount other executors received after probating similar estates. If you are worried about the amount of work you’re dedicating to probate, hire a Northern Virginia probate attorney to take the burden off your shoulders.
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