Marshalling Assets in Fairfax Probate Cases

Marshalling assets is an important part of Fairfax probate cases, but it can also be difficult. Especially when someone does not have experience with the process, it is easy to become overwhelmed. However, there is help available.

A dedicated probate attorney could serve as a guide. They could help you make sure you are making the decisions that are best for your circumstances.

What Does Marshalling of Assets Mean?

Marshalling assets in Fairfax, Virginia probate essentially means identifying and collecting the estate assets. The executor or the administrator, with the help of an attorney, can identify estate assets by first sorting through the decedent’s papers and personal effects.

Once the assets are located and identified, the executor or administrator has to collect them. This entails contacting the financial institutions, getting the assets re-titled into the name of the estate and then depositing those funds into a checking account. An estate-checking account should also be open so there is one place where all of the estate assets can be collected and then eventually distributed.

An executor or administrator is responsible for keeping very clear records of all the deposits that are made into the estate checking account as well as any debits or expenses that are paid from the account. The difficulty of the process of marshalling estate assets depends on the number of assets and how difficult the financial institution’s procedure is to navigate. For example, an estate with only one or two assets will be much more simple and streamlined than an estate with real estate in multiple jurisdictions, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts.

Factors Impacting the Process

The process of marshalling assets can be complicated if the assets are located in a jurisdiction other than Virginia. For example, if an out-of-state asset was held at a financial institution that requires an in-person appearance in order to make a change to the account or close the account, then the executor or the administrator would be required to make a separate trip to that jurisdiction just to collect the asset or close the account.

There are also factors that can make marshalling assets easier. In general, the fewer the number of assets, the easier the process. However, even if an estate does have a lot of assets, having an attorney to assist with marshalling assets can make the process much easier and more streamlined.

What a Fairfax Personal Representative Should Know

There are a few important facts to know about marshalling the assets. It is important to know that a person must be qualified before starting to marshal the assets. Financial institutions will require proof that the owner of the asset has died and that the person attempting to collect the asset has the authority to do so. A common misconception is that the executor named in a person’s will is automatically given the authority to marshal the assets. In reality, that nomination first has to be recognized by the court.

Another common misconception is that the executor or administrator of the estate is entitled to keep the marshalled assets, which is untrue. The executor or the administrator has the responsibility of collecting and managing the assets, but that does not automatically mean they are entitled to any of the assets. Whether they are entitled to any assets stems from them being either a legatee in the decedent’s will or their status as an heir to the estate.

Personal representatives should also be prepared for some frustrations. This is because it is their job to serve as the agent acting between the financial institutions and the beneficiaries. This is a situation where being represented by an attorney is very beneficial because the attorney can help guide the representative through the process.

Speak With an Attorney About Marshalling Assets in Fairfax Probate Cases

The process of marshalling assets in Fairfax probate cases can be complex. Because of that, it may be wise to work with an experienced attorney. To learn more about how an attorney can be a guide throughout the process, call today.