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Let Our Chesapeake Law Firm Handle Your Loved One's Estate Administration

As the personal representative (or executor) of someone’s estate, it falls on you to perform all of the administrative duties of probate. You will have to gather your loved one’s assets, settle their debts, and then distribute the remaining assets in accordance with their will and the law. Unfortunately, the process is rarely straightforward—and the possibility of costly errors or potential litigation lurks around every corner.

We Take the Worry and Stress Out of Virginia Probate

Coastal Atlantic Law can take on the burden of your executor duties. Whether your loved one died with a valid will (testate) or without a will (intestate), we can ensure that all of their debts are paid, beneficiaries are appropriately notified, their assets are accounted for, and everything is done to the letter of the law.

Our law firm can help with every step of estate administration, including:

  • Initiating probate. Probate begins when the executor deposits the original will and a certified death certificate with the court. The clerk will review the provisions of the will and whether it meets all requirements to be valid under state law. Even if the deceased had no will, there might still be assets that need to go through probate. The clerk will also assess a probate tax. You may need to open a dedicated bank account for the estate to deposit cash, wages, refunds, and other payments and use these funds to pay estate expenses.
  • Notification requirements. It’s your responsibility to notify beneficiaries (typically spouses, children, and other relatives) of probate proceedings within 30 days of your appointment as executor. You will also have to inform any of your loved one’s creditors to give them a chance to come forward and collect debts. If your loved one was receiving benefits, the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs should be notified to stop payments. If your loved one had life insurance, a survivor pension, or other payable on death assets, the companies must be notified to process the claim.
  • Gathering assets. You will have to create an inventory of all of the deceased person’s property (assets) and the estimated value of each item. Probate assets may include houses, vehicles, real estate, stocks, bank accounts, jewelry, artwork, and furnishings. Life insurance proceeds made payable to the estate instead of a named beneficiary will also have to go through probate. Before the estate can be closed, you must submit an accounting to the court that includes all identified assets and distributions accompanied by receipts, bills, deeds, or other documents supporting each transaction.
  • Paying debts. Not only must a personal representative pay the deceased’s outstanding debts, but they are also required to settle them in a specific order. You are also responsible for filing final federal and state income tax returns on behalf of the deceased.
  • Distributing inheritances to heirs. Once the other steps are complete, the personal representative can proceed with the final distribution of estate assets to the beneficiaries. These transactions may involve completing new land deeds, titles, or other ownership documents to ensure the beneficiary legally assumes control of the asset.
  • Trust administration. If your loved one created a trust-based estate plan, the assets in the trust would not have to go through probate. The executor of the estate does typically not have control over trust assets. Instead, the successor trustee continues to carry out the instructions in the trust document and oversee all transactions.

Take the Time You Need to Grieve While Our Chesapeake Estate Administration Attorney Handles the Rest

You don’t have to take on the legal and emotional burden of a loved one’s passing alone. Coastal Atlantic Law is standing by to answer your questions and file the necessary paperwork to get through probate as quickly and efficiently as possible. We serve clients in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to discuss how we can be of assistance.