Charlottesville Probate Attorneys
The death of a loved one is always a painful event. Dealing with the profound loss of a loved one requires time and space for mourning, and family members must be given the opportunity to grieve and heal. Unfortunately, these difficult situations can be compounded by the necessary but mundane legal steps that are required to be taken to process your loved one’s estate. And often disputes or conflict may also arise out of matters dealing with the estate, will, or inheritance.
In these situations, an experienced Charlottesville probate attorney can help guide the family through the probate and estate administration process. By explaining the legal implications and requirements of Virginia estate administration and taking care of the details, a probate attorney can help reduce the amount of work and strain on the family during this difficult time.
The term “probate” simply refers to the legal process where the validity of a person’s will is determined and the estate is administered. Once a person dies in Virginia, his or her estate must go through the Virginia probate process in order to properly administer the estate.
Typically, after the court determines the will to be valid, it will make sure the person identified in the will as the personal representative or executor is able and willing to serve. The personal representative then bears the responsibility of carrying out the wishes of the will and administering the estate.
The probate process in Virginia includes:
- Locating and Identifying the estate assets;
- Identifying and notifying the decedent’s creditors of the estate administration;
- Paying any debts owed by the decedent;
- Filing applicable income tax returns and estate income tax returns;
- Paying all taxes due in a timely manner;
- Distributing the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries in accordance to any will the decedent may have executed;
An experienced Charlottesville probate attorney can help administer the estate by, among other things, arranging for the payment of any debts and taxes owed, pursuing any claims against third parties that are owed to the estate, and determining and notifying the decedent’s heirs through the estate administration process.
This can be a relatively straightforward process in some situations. In others, the probate process could be complicated and last for well over a year. Depending on the size of the estate and the availability of the heirs and necessary parties, the probate process could prove to require a great amount of time and effort.
There is no strict time requirement under Virginia law as to when probate must begin. Every situation involving the death of a loved one is unique and brings with it much emotion and extenuating circumstances. It is recommended, however, that the initial steps in the probate process begin within 30 days after the death.
Initiating the probate process is relatively simply. But matters of probate may include complex tax considerations, require specialized real estate or financial transactions, or involve legally technical litigation over the validity of the will. Virginia probate law includes rules and deadlines that must be understood and followed or else parties may lose rights.
The Charlottesville probate attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. are highly skilled and experienced in probate law and estate administration. Working in cooperation with experienced tax, litigation, and transactional attorneys, MartinWren, P.C. will ensure that you receive comprehensive professional representation through every step of the probate process. Contact Charlottesville probate attorneys Lewis A. Martin, III or G. Raye Jones today at (434) 817-3100 to discuss your estate administration needs.