Is it Possible to Avoid Probate in Virginia?
The short answer is no. It is almost impossible to completely avoid probate in Virginia, but you can reduce the number of assets that need to go through probate. Many people have a negative view when it comes to probate. It may stem from a personal experience or from horror stories you’ve heard from friends.
In Virginia, an estate will need to be probated when a person dies with property valued at more than $50,000. So, to avoid probate, you must die with either a very small estate, or you must take steps to make sure that your assets transfer automatically to beneficiaries.
What is probate?
Probate is the process that the Commonwealth of Virginia uses to oversee the distribution of someone’s estate after death. Its purpose is to prove that the last will and testament of the deceased is valid, the decedent’s debts and bills are paid, final tax returns have been submitted and paid, and the decedent’s property and assets are distributed to the beneficiaries, per his/her wishes. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, probate can take as little as a few months, or as long as several years.
What can I do now to avoid probate?
Probate is a costly, stressful, and time-consuming process. It can become burdensome to your loved ones, especially since they may still be grieving. And, it can be difficult for a person with a full-time job to devote the time and energy needed to deal with lawyers and the court. The fees accrued for legal representation and administrating the estate can grow quickly and must be paid in full before any distribution of the estate to your beneficiaries. That may mean that assets won’t go to beneficiaries, but will need to be liquidated to cover fees.
Melone Hatley is a general practice law firm and serves Virginia Beach and the Northern Virginia area. Our practice areas include Family Law, Divorce and Special Needs Children, Traffic Ticket Defense, DUI/DWI Defense, and Trust and Estate Law. Our philosophy is to provide all of our clients with the highest quality legal representation, innovative legal solutions, and unsurpassed dedication to customer service. Through our high standards, we strive to be a trusted resource to our clients.
We know from experience that a successful attorney-client relationship depends on our ability to understand your needs and objectives. For more information about probate and estate planning, contact our office today at 703.995.9900 in Northern Virginia or 757.296.0580 in Virginia Beach, or visit our website: www.MeloneLawPC.com.