Virginia Probate Lawyer

As one of the oldest states in the Union, the Commonwealth of Virginia has some of the richest history and most enduring traditions. Virginia also has richly established law such as the laws surrounding probate. The law does not require the use of a Virginia probate lawyer, but assistance from an experienced legal ally can make the process much easier to navigate.

In addition, a trust and estate lawyer who handles probate can also help avoid legal violations that could cause delays or penalties. Guidance from a probate attorney often provides the most efficient means to manage an estate.

Probate Overview

Probate is a legal process for distributing assets and settling debts after an individual dies. Unless someone carefully plans in advance and transfers all requisite assets to an inter vivos trust, when they pass away, the property they leave behind usually must go through some form of the probate process.

The probate laws are set up to ensure that property is distributed appropriately and that the creditors are reimbursed to the extent possible. The process is slow to allow interested parties plenty of time to learn of the death and come forward to make a claim.

If the deceased individual leaves behind an estate with assets valued at less than $50,000 and containing no real estate, then it may be possible to use the “small estate” probate process. Other estates must go through formal probate proceedings. A Virginia probate lawyer could determine which method applies and manage proceedings in a cost-effective manner.

How a Probate Lawyer Can Assist

Every case is different, and it can be difficult to determine the needs of an estate without a thorough review. A probate lawyer in Virginia could ascertain the necessary steps and administer the process from start to finish.

Along the way, a probate attorney could help with issues such as:

  • Interpreting terms of a will
  • Helping prove the validity of a will
  • Proving claims where there is no will
  • Contesting terms of a will
  • Managing income and estate tax issues
  • Determining whether to disclaim an inheritance
  • Settling debts of the estate
  • Securing appropriate executors and guardians and explaining duties

As part of the process, of course, a probate lawyer will file all the necessary paperwork with the circuit court.

Parts of the Probate Process

Since no two cases are the same, the process can differ somewhat, but certain procedures are common as part of the probate process. A Virginia probate lawyer will examine the will and, if there is more than one, the attorney could investigate to determine which will is valid.

Then the attorney could oversee the installation of the personal representative or executor and guide the representative through the process of assembling assets. Next, steps must be taken to notify potential creditors in accordance with the law. Some bills, such as those for funeral expenses, may be paid earlier in the process than others.

A Virginia probate lawyer could also oversee the payment of federal, state, and local taxes. These include probate tax, income taxes of the deceased, and tax returns for the estate itself.

Speak with a Virginia Probate Attorney Today

Even when the terms of a will are clear and uncontested, probate can be a complex process. When complications arise, the difficulties are compounded.

Working with a knowledgeable Virginia probate lawyer can make the process more efficient and less worrisome. To learn how an experienced estate attorney could help avoid pitfalls that could cause delays or added expenses, call now for a consultation and case evaluation.