Probate Process in Virginia Beach

Probate is a multi-step process where a person’s assets are distributed and debts are discharged to the respective creditors. The duration of probate can depend on a range of factors, including the breadth of the assets involved, how long it takes to identify and inventory them, outstanding liabilities, and whether or not any individuals or entities contest these proceedings.

However, it is important to emphasize that not all assets will be subject to probate. A knowledgeable attorney can assist with any and all aspects of the probate process in Virginia Beach, whether you are an executor, beneficiary, or other interested party.

Assets Exempt from Probate

While many assets can be subject to probate in Virginia Beach, it is important to note that some estate plans may be structured in such a way as to bypass this legal process partially or completely. There are several categories of assets that are generally exempt.

If the decedent established a revocable living trust, any assets it contained would not go through probate. Instead, the assets would be disbursed to the named beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Certain assets that the decedent owned in joint tenancy or tenancy in the entirety can also be exempted from the probate process. Assets held in this way can include both real and personal property. Common examples of assets held in joint tenancy or tenancy in the entirety include homes, land, financial accounts, and cars.

There are other miscellaneous assets considered non-probate assets, such as those held in payable-on-death accounts or pension benefits. When the decedent left a relatively modest estate, the assets may be able to bypass probate using a small estate affidavit. This option only applies if the decedent had $50,000 or less in assets at the time of their death.

Key Steps of the Probate Process

There are multiple vital steps in the Virginia Beach probate process. In situations where the decedent died and left a will, the earlier stages of this process involve the executor filing information with the court clerk that includes the decedent’s named heirs, the proposed valuation of the assets at stake, and the decedent’s death certificate. The court would then issue a qualification certificate affirming that the executor has legal standing to manage the probate process.

The executor will often need to identify, inventory, and appraise the full scope of the decedent’s assets. Before they can distribute any assets to the named beneficiaries, any remaining liabilities the decedent owed at the time of their death must be paid off.

The estate would also be used to cover the cost of probate, such as legal fees, filing fees, and local taxes. After liabilities have been discharged, the executor would distribute the remaining assets as per the decedent’s codified wishes.

If the decedent passes away and does not leave behind a will, apart from assets exempt from probate through a trust or another legal vehicle, the decedent’s assets would go through the process of intestate succession. These assets would still go through probate, but instead of being distributed according to how the decedent may have desired, they would be administered per state law.

Hire An Attorney for the Probate Process in Virginia Beach

The probate process in Virginia Beach can vary depending on the individual case. Many elements can complicate the probate process, such as the lack of a will, extensive assets, considerable debt, or disputes.

An attorney can help you manage any of these or other challenges that may arise during probate. If you have questions about the probate process, call now to speak with an attorney and receive advice tailored to your specific case.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

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Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

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