what is probate

When a loved one passes away in Northern Virginia, the family will need to attend to various financial and legal matters. While this can be a difficult time for grieving family members, it’s important to act promptly to fulfill these responsibilities. That is why it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the probate process, how it works in Northern Virginia, and what it could entail for you and your loved ones.

What Exactly Is Probate?

Probate is a legal process that verifies and records the Last Will and Testament as the authentic and final Will of the deceased. It also designates a personal representative or executor who is responsible for managing the estate and distributing the assets to the intended beneficiaries.

After a person passes away, the probate process often includes the following steps:

  • The court will determine if the individual’s Will is valid
  • The deceased’s assets will be identified and then inventoried
  • Property will need to be appraised
  • Debts and taxes will be paid
  • The remainder of the assets and property will be distributed according to the deceased’s wishes or the state if no Will exists

Working with an experienced probate attorney in Northern Virginia can help ease the process for you and your family. These legal professionals can assist you by preparing any necessary forms, reviewing and collecting assets, and creating an estate inventory.

Are There Separate Probate Courts?

 In Virginia, probate courts are not separate. As a result, a Will must be probated in the circuit court of the city or county where the deceased lived at the time of their death. However, if the deceased had no known place of residence, the Will must be probated in the area where they owned any real estate. If there is no real estate, the Will must be probated where the deceased passed away or had an estate.

What Happens if There Is No Will?

If an individual passes away without a Will, Virginia laws indicate that once expenses and debts are paid off, the remaining property will pass onto the following individuals:

  • Surviving spouse, unless there are children. Then, one-third will go to the surviving spouse, and the remaining two-thirds will proceed to be divided among the children
  • If there is no surviving spouse, all the property will pass to the children and their descendants
  • If there are no children or descendants, then all of it will go to the deceased’s parents
  • If the deceased has no parents, then the property will pass to the deceased’s siblings and their descendants

However, to fully understand the implications of this order and what it can mean for you and your loved ones, consider going over your situation with a skilled Northern Virginia probate lawyer.

Contact an Experienced Northern Virginia Probate Lawyer Today 

Losing a loved one can be an incredibly difficult experience. The thought of managing all of their affairs by themselves and ensuring that their final wishes are fulfilled can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to go through this alone. When you work with the legal team at Ardent Guardian, you can rest assured that your needs will be put first, and you will have a skilled legal team helping you through every step of this process. Contact us today for more information.

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