Full-Service Spotsylvania Law Firm Provides Probate Services
Handling probate administration and litigation for more than 70 years
The responsibilities involved in settling a loved one’s estate can be overwhelming. At Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC, we’ve spent more than seven decades guiding Virginians through probate. From creating an inventory of assets to paying creditors with liquidated assets, our probate attorneys in Spotsylvania are your partners throughout the entire process.
What is probate in Virginia?
Probate is the official recording of a will as the valid last will and testament of the deceased. Virginia doesn’t have separate probate courts, so a will is probated in the circuit court of the city or county in which the deceased lived -- whether it's Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg or any other part of Virginia. Typically, a court clerk handles the probate of wills, and the circuit court judge is not involved. Any person with an interest in the estate, however, may appeal to the judge within six months of the clerk’s order admitting the will to probate.
What are the duties of the executor of an estate in Virginia?
The executor of the estate is named in the will or, if there is no will, the court typically appoints the primary heir to serve as executor. For the executor of an estate, administrative responsibilities quickly pile up, compounding the emotional toll of the estate owner’s death. The executor has many responsibilities under Virginia law, including:
- Collect and protect the property of the estate
- Pay all debts of the estate
- Distribute the assets in accordance with the provisions of the will
- Within four months of the executor’s appointment, file an inventory and valuation of the estate’s property with the Commissioner of Accounts, who is basically a court-appointed trustee
- Within 16 months of appointment, file an accounting with the Commissioner of Accounts, showing the income and expenditures of the estate administration, including the distributions to the beneficiaries named in the will
- File the decedent’s final income tax return
- File an income tax return for the estate if the estate earns more than $600 in taxable income in a year
- If the value of the taxable estate exceeds $3.5 million, file an estate tax return within nine months of the date of death
If you become the executor of an estate in the greater Spotsylvania or Fredericksburg areas, the probate and estate administration attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman can lift the weight off your shoulders.
Litigating even the most contentious will and trust disputes
If a dispute arises among the beneficiaries of a will, or between the beneficiaries and the executor, a nasty court fight can ensue. Beneficiaries may allege, for example, that the executor misappropriated assets, or someone who was left out of the will might claim that the deceased wasn’t mentally competent when the will was signed.
Our Spotsylvania probate and estate planning attorneys advise you of your options when you’re faced with a will contest. And if the matter can’t be settled through out-of-court negotiations, we have the experience and resources to seek a litigated resolution.
Put the burdens of probate on an experienced attorney
Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC has a long history of guiding clients through the challenges of probate. Call (540) 582-5300 to set a consultation, or contact us online for appointment scheduling. We serve clients in and around Fredericksburg, Thornburg, Spotsylvania, Corbin, Woodford, Hartwood, Partlow, Richardsville, Locust Grove, Brooke, Ladysmith, Stafford, Lignum, Goldvein, Rappahannock Academy, Garrisonville, Sumerduck, Caroline County, Fauquier County, Hanover County, King George County, Orange County, Spotsylvania County and Stafford County. Our offices are in the historic Spotswood Inn.