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Opening an Estate in Fairfax

Executing estates can be a stressful undertaking and a huge responsibility. It can be difficult to shoulder the weight of opening an estate alone. If you want to know more about opening an estate in Fairfax, consult a knowledgeable estate planning attorney that could answer your questions. Speak with a skilled lawyer that could help you navigate the estate opening process.

Process of Filing to Open an Estate

Before opening an estate in Fairfax, a person who wants to qualify as the executor or the administrator of the estate must file an informational form with the probate division of the clerk’s office. This form requires specific information about the decedent such as their name, address, date of death, place of death, and other specific information. The form also requires information about the person who is seeking to qualify as the executor or administrator. When a will exists, it is presented to the probate division for review at the same time the informational form is filed.

Storage of Original Copies of a Last Will and Testament

The original document of the will is filed with the clerk of the probate division at the courthouse. Copies can be made of the will for reference, but the original must be kept with the clerk for the will to be probated. The location of the original varies depending on the person who has the will. Sometimes the attorney who drafted the will for the decedent keeps the original at their office or an estate deposit box that the firm holds for the benefit of its people.

Other times, the individual may choose to keep their original document. In some cases, the testator may have filed the last will and testament with the clerk for safekeeping prior to death.  In that case, the location of the will depends on the person. Sometimes it is among the decedent’s papers, somewhere in their house, or in their own personal deposit box at a bank.

Who is Allowed to Petition for Probate?

When there is a will, the person who is named in the will as an executor can seek to qualify as executor of the estate. If the person who is nominated in the will does not wish to serve and administer the estate, they can file a waiver of qualification form. When there is no will, the person who seeks to qualify is referred to as the administrator.

Whether or not the person was nominated in the will to serve, they must go to the probate division and provide an informational form regarding the decedent and whether a will exists. Additionally, that person must provide the probate division with all of the names and addresses of the heirs at law.  If there is no will, the Virginia code provides a priority among those who may petition to qualify as an administrator of the estate. Once the administrator/executor has been determined, they can begin the process of opening an estate in Fairfax.

Explaining a Notice of Appointment

In Virginia, a Notice of Probate must be sent to specific people such as all of the heirs at law, the surviving spouses of the decedent, and all living and ascertained beneficiaries under the will when there is one. This notice must be sent within 30 days of the executor or the administrator being qualified by the court.

The notice must include the name and date of death of the decedent, the names and contact information for the executor or administrator, and the clerk’s office where the estate was opened. The notice must also inform the recipients that although they received the notice, they may not be entitled to receive assets from the estate. The recipients of this notice must also receive information that informs them that an inventory will be filed within four months of the filing.

Purpose of a Notice of Appointment

The purpose of the notice regarding an estate is to keep all of the parties informed as to the procedure and proceedings involved in the estate. This notice provides them with the information of who was appointed to administer the estate as well as future filings required to be filed with the court, including the inventory.

The inventory is due four months from the date of the filing or the date of when the administrator or executor was qualified and identifies the specific assets of the estate. This notice is also important because it informs the recipient that although they are receiving the notice, they may not be entitled to anything from the estate.

Necessity of a Bond in Fairfax Probate Law

In most cases when a will does not exist, the administrator or executor is required to post bond. They must purchase a bond from an insurance company. When there is a will, there may be a provision in the will that waives bond which is usually honored by the court. However, in the case of an executor who is not a Virginia resident, the clerk of the court may require a bond even when the will waives the posting of a bond. If an individual wants to know more about bond in probate law or, opening an estate in Fairfax, consult a skilled estate planning lawyer that could help.