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Kaufman & Canoles, PC - Attorneys
|Information about probate and decedents' estates in Virginia.||Home | Services | Contact | Search | Disclosure|
Executors and Administrators of decedents' estates are required by Virginia law to file an inventory to identify the assets of the estate and accountings to detail the distribution and disbursement of those assets.
Inventories and accountings are audited to confirm that the estate has been handled in accordance with the law and the wishes of the decedent, if there is a will, and to protect the interests of beneficiaries and creditors of the estate. Virginia law provides for court proceedings to enforce these requirements through the Virginia Circuit Courts.
Virginia has for many decades used a unique, efficient and cost effective means of handling this large task - through the use of commissioner of accounts. The judges of the various circuit courts across Virginia appoint one or more commissioners of accounts in their respective jurisdictions.
Estate inventories and accountings are filed with the commissioner of accounts in the jurisdiction where the personal representative qualifies. The commissioner reviews, audits and approves the inventory and accounts, if acceptable, or declines to approve the filings if not acceptable, filing his or her report with the court.
The commissioner reports delinquent personal representatives to the court, and initiates court proceedings to enforce the filing and estate settlement requirements. Personal Representatives who disagree with the findings reported to the court by the commissioner may file exceptions with the court to the commissioner's report and have a hearing before a judges.
Commissioners of accounts serve as quasi judicial officers assisting the court, and in addition to reviewing inventories and auditing accounts, they determine sufficiency of fiduciary bonds, conduct hearings on creditors claims, determining reasonable compensation for personal representatives, and determine and resolve other issues that arise during administration of an estate.
The judges of almost all jurisdictions in Virginia have adopted a uniform fee schedule for commissioners of accounts filing fees, which was developed by the Standing Committee on Commissioners of Accounts established by the Virginia Judicial Council.
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