Probate is the process used by the court to ensure that an estate plan is carried out as specified by the deceased. This includes confirming the value of assets, paying the deceased’s final taxes and bills and distributing anything that remains to their loved ones.
In Virginia, probate can take several months for a small estate, while complex estates can take much longer. Here are the things you should know:
Is probate necessary?
The short answer is, “Yes.” Whether there is a will or not the estate will go through probate. These are the steps that will be taken:
- Administration: The executor named in the will needs to carry out the terms as specified by the deceased. The court will appoint an executor if the deceased did not name one.
- Opening of the estate: This is the process of taking inventory of the contents of the estate. At this time the executor must notify any heirs to the estate that probate has begun.
- Handling outstanding debts: Creditors need to be notified that the deceased’s estate is in probate. Running an announcement in the newspaper is the way most executors do this. Once this is complete, the executor can prepare the final account.
- Final account: Once everything has been inventoried and heirs and creditors have been notified, the executor can file the final account with the court. Once this happens the administrative costs can be paid and the remaining assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
You don’t have to go through probate alone. Seeking experienced legal guidance can help you navigate your way through the probate process and take a load of stress off your shoulders.