Probate & Estate Administration

Availability:
available via fax   Via Fax
available in person   In Person

Overview:

    The Code of Virginia grants the Clerk of the Circuit Court the authority to probate a will, appoint and qualify an Executor or Administrator for a Decedent’s estate, appoint and qualify a testamentary or court ordered trustee, qualify a conservator and/or a guardian for an incapacitated adult, and qualify a guardian for a minor’s estate.

    To probate a will (put it to record) and to qualify as an executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate, you must go to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the County where the decedent lived at the time of death.  If the decedent died in a nursing home or similar facility, then that person’s residence is presumed to be where he or she lived prior to becoming a patient at such home.  Probate appointments must be scheduled with the Clerk’s Office beforehand and usually take about an hour.

    The personal representative (executor or administrator) of an estate is charged with many responsibilities, and it is the legal obligation of the representative to fully understand and discharge those duties. There are several resources available which help to further explain the probate process, which include: the Supreme Court of Virginia’s website www.courts.state.va.us which has forms that can be printed off and filled in, the Virginia Bar Association’s “A Guide to the Administration of Decedent’s Estates in Virginia,” and the DMV Guide to Estate Administration. Federal tax questions must be answered by the IRS. An attorney is not required to probate a decedent’s estate, but may be helpful to assist you with the intricacies of the process.

Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Information:

     The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is located on the 2nd floor of the Henrico County Courts Building, room 240, 4301 East Parham Road, Henrico, VA 23228. Please call or email Ms. Rios at 501-4763 (rio09@henrico.us), Ms. Carroll at 501-4316 (car28@henrico.us), or Mr. Martin at 501-5327 (mar139@henrico.us) to schedule an appointment with a Probate Clerk. Appointments may take up to 2 weeks to schedule. To expedite matters, please fax a copy of the will, any codicils, and a copy of the death certificate to our fax # 1-804-501-5214.  The Probate Division makes every effort to take appointments on time. Please allow an extra 10 minutes to park, pass through security, and come upstairs to the Clerk’s Office. Cell phones and other electronic devices are prohibited in the courthouse.

What to Bring to an Appointment:

A. If the decedent died with a will, please bring the following information to your appointment with the Probate Clerk;

  1. The original will and any codicils (not copies)
  2. A certified copy of the death certificate
  3. A valid photo identification
  4. If the will is self proving, you do not need to bring the witnesses to the will or depositions of the witnesses to the will to your appointment. Otherwise, witnesses to the will or depositions of the witnesses are required.
  5. The approximate dollar value of the solely owned assets of personal property (bank accounts, automobiles, stocks, bonds, etc.) and the fair market value of real estate in Virginia which must pass through probate.
  6. Cash, check, debit or credit cards to pay the probate fees. An ATM machine is located on the first floor of the courthouse. No credit or debit cards are accepted.
  7. The names, address, and ages of the primary heirs at law. VA Code Section 64.2-200.
  8. If the executor named in the will does not wish to serve, they must submit a notarized refusal letter or a Waiver of Qualification form. If the named executor is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate must be provided. A letter from a physician is required if the executor cannot serve due to a medical incapacity.
  9. A named executor who resides outside of Virginia who wishes to be appointed as an executor, must bring a Virginia resident with an ID to the appointment to be designated as a registered agent or to co-qualify, or bring a notarized consent form where the Virginia resident agrees to serve. VA Code Section 64.2-1426
  10. Contact a bondsman. (see Fiduciary Bonds below)

B. If the decedent died without a will, please bring the following information to your appointment with the Probate Clerk:

  1. A certified copy of the death certificate
  2. A valid photo identification
  3. The approximate dollar value of the solely owned assets for both personal property (bank accounts, automobiles, stocks, bonds, etc.) and the fair market value of real estate located in Virginia which must pass through probate.
  4. Cash, check, debit or credit cards to pay the probate fees. An ATM machine is located on the first floor of the courthouse. No credit or debit cards are accepted.
  5. An administrator residing outside of Virginia who wishes to be appointed as Administrator must bring a Virginia resident to the appointment to either be designated as a registered agent or co-qualify, or bring a notarized consent form where the Virginia resident agrees to serve. VA Code Section 64.2-1426
  6. The names, addresses and ages of the primary heirs at law. VA Code Section 64.2-200
  7. Contact a bondsman. (see Fiduciary Bonds below)

Note: For a list of person(s) having preference for appointment as an Administrator of Intestate Estates, see Virginia Code Section 64.2-502

 

Fiduciary  Bonds:

Fiduciaries must be bonded. The bond is a written promise that one will faithfully perform his duties as a fiduciary (Executor or Administrator). The bond amount is set by the Probate Clerk. The bond issued on behalf of the estate helps to ensure that the person appointed properly administers the assets of the estate and helps to protect the interests of the heirs, creditors, beneficiaries, and the Commonwealth as their interests relate to the estate. State statutes govern whether the bond is with or without surety. The Probate Clerk will set the appropriate bond amount during your appointment. If a surety is required on your fiduciary bond, it will be necessary for you to arrange for a bondsperson to be present at your appointment. You may request a list of certified bonding companies from the Clerk’s Office or find them in the local telephone directory.  

Probate Fees

      The exact amount of the probate fees will be determined during your probate appointment. Basic fees vary depending upon the circumstances, however, fees range between $40-$60 with a will and $30-$50 without a will.  Additionally, state probate taxes depend upon the value of the probate assets, with an assessment of $1 per $1,000 value of probate assets. Probate fees may be paid by cash, check or credit card. There is a 2% convenience fee for credit card transactions.

Appointment of a Resident Agent:

      All non-Virginia fiduciaries must appoint an in-state resident to serve as resident agent to accept service of process or other notices on behalf of the estate. Before being appointed as resident agent, this individual must consent to the appointment in writing. Forms are available online at http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/circuit/fiduciary.html.

 

After Your Qualification as Executor or Administrator:     

       The Commissioner of Accounts is a lawyer appointed by the Circuit Court to oversee the actions of the fiduciaries and is responsible for reviewing and approving estate inventories and accountings. He can help you after you qualify and answer questions regarding your responsibilities and the ultimate closing of the estate. Henrico County’s Commissioner of Accounts is Edwin A. Bischoff, Esquire.  His contact information is listed below:

          www.henricocommissionerofaccounts.com 

          Telephone #: 1-804-346-4700.  Fax #: 1-804-273-0840.  

          Mailing address: P.O. Box 31480, Henrico, VA 23294

          Office address: 8500 Mayland Drive, Henrico, VA 23294.

 

General Definitions:  from the VCCA Probate and Estate Administration Manual

Testate: dying with a will   

Intestate: dying without a will 

Fiduciary: general term used to refer to an executor, administrator or trustee; a person in a position of trust with respect to another’s property  

Executor: person named in will to administer the estate, who accepts the appointment by qualifying before the probate clerk 

Administrator: person appointed by and qualified by the probate clerk to administer the intestate decedent’s estate

Qualification: process whereby a person is appointed by the probate clerk to serve as the executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate 

Heirs: persons who would inherit the decedent’s estate if the decedent died without a will

Beneficiary: person or organization entitled to receive a portion of the estate 

Self proving will:  an acknowledgement of the testator and the affidavits of attesting witnesses made before an officer authorized to administer oaths

 

Disclaimer:  This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Contact Us

Circuit Court Clerk

Delivery Address
4301 E. Parham Road
Courthouse Bldg, Rm 240
Henrico, VA 23228

General Information
(804) 501-4202

Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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