How do you Probate a Will in Virginia?

happy family walking through field

My name is Tom Jackson, I am a local practicing attorney. I have a lot of experience handling estate work and helping people probate estates. I serve as an administrator or an executor of a lot of estates and enjoy the opportunity to work through those.

One question I’m often asked is if I’m named executor in a will and a parent passes away, what do I do next? The first thing you have to have is the original will. You will take that will to the circuit court clerk’s office in the county where your loved one lived at the time of death. That will has to be an original, it cannot be a copy.

The second required document is a death certificate. Most likely you will be able to order it through the funeral home. However you can also get the death certificate from the health department in the county your loved one resided in.

The third thing you’re going to need is a list of the family members who would be heirs to the deceased person. This list must include the names, addresses, and ages.

The last required item that you will need is a general sense of how much the estate is worth. This does not need to be exact. For example, if there are two cars, a house, some CDs at the bank, then you’ll need to do some research. First start by looking at a land book at the clerk’s office to figure out what the tax assessment is on the property. Then you can use Kelley Blue Book, or other means, to generate an estimate of what the vehicles are worth. Hopefully you can find some paperwork around the house that will t give you a sense of what the CDs are worth.

After gathering this information you are going to take all of it to the Circuit Court Clerk. You must call and make an appointment in order to go to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. This is not a task that you can do without an appointment due to the fact that it is a specialized service. Obviously the person who’s in charge of that at the clerk’s office or deputy clerk overstates likes to schedule these things so they can do them correctly. This allows the court to efficiently work and allows people not to have to wait. I hope that this was helpful. I love to handle estates so if you have any questions or an estate situation you need help with please give me a call, thank you.