The basics of probate

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Probate |

Probate is the legal procedure used to validate and authenticate a deceased person’s will. The procedure is conducted via the courts. The process involves settling the deceased’s outstanding taxes and debts, ascertaining the worth of their assets and transferring any remaining assets to their beneficiaries.

The probate process in Virginia generally takes a minimum of six to twelve months to complete. If a will is contested or there are any inconsistencies, the duration of the procedure may be extended.

The process of probate

Probate is consequential, regardless of the presence of a will. It aids in clarifying and confirming the assets and liabilities of the deceased’s estate. The fundamental procedures for probate in Virginia are as outlined below:

  • Filing a petition: To validate a will and appoint or approve an executor, it is necessary to submit a formal petition to the local probate court. In the absence of a will, one may appoint an administrator to manage the estate.
  • Notification: Following that, a notification is sent to all beneficiaries named in the will. In the absence of a will, legal heirs and creditors are notified via an announcement published in a local newspaper.
  • Inventory of assets: The executor/administrator gathers, organizes and evaluates the assets held by the deceased. This document is then filed with the court.
  • Payment of debts: The estate’s funds are used to settle any outstanding obligations or debts of the deceased individual.
  • Distribution: Once all outstanding obligations, taxes and administrative expenses have been settled, the remaining assets are divided among the heirs or specified beneficiaries.

Virginia does not have a specified minimum estate valuation for probate. However, personal property valued at $50,000 or less can be transferred to beneficiaries without going through probate, as long as no other probate procedures have begun.

Yet, regardless of the value of an estate, probate can be difficult to understand and execute. Therefore, it is generally wise for those affected by it to proactively seek assistance with the process.


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