The Code of Virginia enumerates a probate procedure that is followed upon the passing of an individual in the Commonwealth who died having executed a Last Will and Testament.

In Virginia, probate is defined as “the official proving and recording of the will as the authentic and valid last will and testament of the deceased”.

Following the passing of an individual, the decedent’s representative (executor) takes the original will to the appropriate Clerk’s Office of the Circuit Court. Typically, an appointment should be made in advance for this purpose. The person offering the will for probate or seeking to qualify should know the nature and value of the assets of the decedent. In addition, a copy of the death certificate should be in the individual’s possession.

The person appointed to administer to the will must take an oath that he or she will faithfully perform the required duties and post an appropriate bond (unless the will waives this requirement). These duties include (but are not necessarily limited to): giving written notice of qualification to heirs and beneficiaries of the estate; ascertaining and taking possession of the decedent’s property; determining the liabilities of the estate and the value of the estate over which the executor does not have control; seeing to the payment of the debts and the sale or distribution of property in accordance with the will or the laws of Virginia; filing a complete inventory; and making a yearly accounting of the assets of the

estate and distributions. This process is overseen by a Commissioner of Accounts, an individual appointed by the Court to ensure that the estate is handled properly.

For more information about the probate procedure in Virginia, contact an experienced attorney at Paulson & Paulson, PLC.