Estate administration can be a daunting task, especially for grieving family members with no previous exposure to the process. We can assist after the loss of a loved one to ensure that their estate plans are carried out to specification, or, in the absence of a plan, to ensure that Virginia intestacy law is correctly followed.
Probate is the process by which the circuit court in the city or county where someone dies oversees the settlement of that person’s estate. Probate can be necessary when a deceased person has a will, or when they die intestate (without a will). The purpose of probate is to effectuate the transfer of a deceased person’s assets in an orderly process with oversight and accountability for the parties impacted. Unfortunately, probate involves fees and multiple steps that can become quickly overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the process. If you are a fiduciary (executor or administrator), we can guide you in navigating the requirements of probate.
To serve as a trustee is to be held to a fiduciary standard – the highest under the law. Trustees bear many responsibilities as they carry out the wishes of the deceased. We frequently aid trustees in interpreting trust language, mitigating risk and fulfilling their fiduciary duties.
A properly administered probate estate or trust estate nearly always involves fiduciary accountings, submitted to the court, the beneficiaries, or both. Accountings are the means by which the actions of fiduciaries are judged, so it is critical that they be accurate, follow the proper form and include all supporting documentation. We can provide pointers to fiduciaries who wish to prepare their own accountings. Alternatively, we can prepare the accountings ourselves to ease the fiduciary’s workload.
When preferred by clients, we can serve as Executor, Administrator, and/or Trustee. We can also serve as Trust Advisors or Trust Protectors, adding an additional layer of flexibility and protection to trusts (particularly irrevocable trusts).