Process of Marshaling Assets in Virginia Probate Cases

Marshaling the assets is generally a term that refers to the process of identifying and collecting the assets of the decedent and then transferring them into the name of the estate.

Because of this, the process of marshaling assets in Virginia probate cases is entirely dependent on the nature of the assets. For example, while a bank account may be closed and the funds deposited to an estate account, a stock may simply be transferred in name.

The process of marshaling assets in Virginia probate cases can be quite involved as there are a lot of different elements of the estate to consider. Therefore, it is a task best undertaken with the help of a lawyer with experience in the field.

What happens after an individual is appointed Personal Representative

After an individual is appointed as Personal Representative, they will generally marshal the assets of the decedent, settle the debts of same, as well as distribute the remaining assets. All this they do pursuant to Virginia law or the last will and testament of the decedent.

Generally, this process also requires the personal representative to establish a checking account for the estate and, depending on the size of the estate, a savings account or money market account as well. To do so, the personal representative will have to apply for a federal tax identification number for the estate and begin to collect the decedent’s assets, before putting such assets into the estate account.

The personal representative may also begin to value assets along with the assistance of counsel in order to determine whether an estate tax return is due. The representative will also be required to post any mandatory notices at this point in time.

Record Keeping Requirements

Record keeping is important throughout the process of marshaling assets in Virginia probate cases. Good record keeping will often help to ease the administration of the estate and make the process more efficient.

It is especially important to note the origin and date of any deposits and into what account they were deposited. Similar records should also be kept for any expenses that are paid, with good record keeping of any receipts or invoices. These records are very helpful when preparing the final accounting and plan for distribution of the estate.

Factors to Consider

The scope of the administration of the estate is really dependent on the type and quantity of assets involved. For example, estates involving several financial holdings or investment accounts may lead to a more time-consuming process of marshaling all of the assets. In contrast, estates involving fewer financial holdings or bank accounts generally involve a more streamlined marshaling process.

There are some cases where certain factors can complicate the process of marshaling assets in Virginia probate cases. For instance, when an individual passes away and nobody is necessarily familiar with the assets of the individual, the process of marshaling the assets can become more difficult. When this is the case, the personal representative or executor is often sent on a searching mission to discover all of the individual’s assets. This process can be time-consuming, as the personal representative or executor is required to contact all of the financial institutions with which the individual may have had holdings.

Just as there are aspects that can make the process more difficult, there are elements that can make it easier as well. One of these is the consolidation of the assets prior to death and good record keeping can ease the process of marshaling the assets for the personal representative or executor.

Locating the Assets of the Deceased

Locating the assets can be complicated. Usually, the first step is for the personal representative or executor to be appointed to receive the decedent’s mail. Sometimes, he or she can request prior tax returns to help identify assets or consult with a company to research and find assets for the estate.

How an Attorney Can Help Carry Out Duties

All of these steps require meticulous attention to detail. This is where an attorney can be extremely helpful: both in informing the Personal Representative of the many areas to cover, and in helping them find everything they need to properly undertake the process of marshaling assets in Virginia probate cases.