banner-image

Fairfax Probate Process

Depending on the complexity of an estate, the Fairfax probate process can be lengthy and complex. From qualifying as an executor to marshalling the assets, there are many steps involved in the process.

For help and guidance throughout probate, reach out to a practiced probate attorney. A lawyer can be an ally to help you make the decisions necessary to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Understanding the Probate Process

In Virginia, probate is proving to the court that a will is valid. That is the technical definition, but it also refers to the entire state administration process which includes qualifying a person as executor or administrator and managing and collecting the estate assets. In total the process can take anywhere from about six months to over a year, depending on the complexity and size of the estate. When someone qualifies to serve as the administrator, they may want to consider consulting an attorney who can guide them through the process.

The Beginning of The Process

When there is a will, the first step in the probate process is proving that the will is valid. If there is no will, the first step is having a person qualify as the estate administrator. There is an application process involving the court to have someone qualify to represent the estate.

Once a person is qualified as the administrator or executor, they must send a notice to all interested persons. This is referred to as a notice of probate and is sent to all heirs, anyone named in the will as a beneficiary, and any known creditors.

The End of the Process

The probate process ends once the administrator files the final accounting and it is approved by the court. The process is complete once all of the debts are paid by the estate and the remaining assets are paid to the beneficiaries.

Does The Administrator Have to Go to Court?

The person who is qualified as the executor or administrator must go to court to qualify but often does not have to go to court after that. However, they may be required to go to court when the inventory and accounting are filed.

Factors Affecting the Process in Fairfax

There are several factors that can affect the probate process in Fairfax. One is what happens when a person dies without a will. When this happens, the estate assets are distributed to specific people according to the laws of intestacy of Virginia. The first person who would receive the assets is usually the surviving spouse. When there is no surviving spouse, the entirety of the estate assets goes the decedent’s children. However, if there are no descendants, the estate assets go to the decedent’s parents. If there is no one else, the decedent’s assets go to any surviving siblings.

Another factor affecting the process is in determining the validity of a will. When a person can bring a will to be validated by the court, it is referred to as ex parte probate. Inter partes probate, on the other hand, refers to the parties having to appear before a judge in court for the court to determine whether the will is valid and who qualifies as the executor or the administrator. An attorney can further explain how these factors affect the Fairfax probate process.

An Attorney Can Be a Guide Throughout the Fairfax Probate Process

The probate process can be confusing and complicated. One of the main benefits of having a trust and estates lawyer to assist with the probate process is having professional provide guidance throughout the process. Another advantage is that a lawyer can take over or manage some of the primary duties of an executor. To learn more about how an attorney can help throughout the Fairfax probate process, call today.