Your Will & Trust Administration…We Make it Easy!

When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called Probate or estate administration. Probate is the orderly and public process by which the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. However, if your loved one owned his or her assets through a well-drafted and properly-funded Living Trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration will ever be necessary. Your self-designated Successor Trustee will still need to manage and distribute the assets of your estate in accordance with your stated wishes as detailed in your Trust. However, your self-designated Successor Trustee will be able to manage and distribute the assets of your Trust outside the jurisdiction of the Probate process.

The length of time needed to complete the Probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate. You and your family can be confident that the McFather Law Firm has the experience and knowledge needed to help your loved ones navigate the Probate process and we stand ready to assist them whenever needed.

Whether you have a handwritten Will (also known as a holographic Will) or typewritten Will, its validity must be proved. To Probate a Will, it must be established that the Will meets the requirements of execution and that the Will was not canceled or revoked. Additionally, unless the Will is accompanied by a Self-Proving Affidavit, proof of a handwritten Will requires the testimony of two witnesses to the Testator’s (the maker of the handwritten Will) handwriting. Proof of a typewritten Will requires the testimony of one of the attesting witnesses.

A self-proved Will is one that has a self-proving affidavit attached to it containing certain required statements which will have been executed before a Notary Public at the time the Will was signed by your loved one. If a Will includes a self-proving affidavit, there will be no need to call witnesses.

If your loved one dies without a Will, then the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia in effect at the time of his or her death determine who the heirs are and statutes define the order in which creditors and potential heirs receive your loved one’s property. This further emphasizes how important it is to execute a Will which meets all legal requirements. This way, your property will pass to the heirs and beneficiaries you determine when you have departed this life.

Estate administration involves the following steps:

  • Designation of Executor (Will) or Administrator (No Will)
  • Determination of heirs if your loved one dies without a Will (Intestate)
  • Identification and collection of your loved one’s assets
  • Payment of funeral and burial expenses
  • Payment of federal, state and local taxes
  • Payment of debts and claims against the estate
  • Distribution of the remainder of the estate to those entitled to receive it