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Information about probate and decedents' estates in Virginia. Home | Services | Contact | Search | Disclosure
Estate Administration Overview

Virginia Estate Administration - Overview

Estate Administration Overview
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When someone dies leaving an estate with assets requiring formal estate administration, an executor or administrator must qualify with the Court in the City or County where the decedent resided at time of death, and, if there is a will, probate the will.

Although the administration of a decedent's estate or a trust involves a number of duties, the accounting aspect is a little like calculating what we do with a paycheck. We pay taxes on the money, invest or deposit our net pay, use the money to pay expenses and debts, hopefully disburse some of the money for ourselves, and eventually we reach zero.

One very important difference with estates is that the executor or administrator is handling money and assets for someone else - the decedent, and the beneficiaries, heirs or creditors of the decedent.

Executors and administrators, therefore, are fiduciaries and are held to a high standard of responsibility and trust. They must document their actions and show that they have acted properly and in accordance with the decedent's will, if there is a will, and applicable law.

Virginia law provides for court supervision of the actions of executors, administrators and trustees. They must take possession and control of estate assets, file an inventory of the assets, and file accountings itemizing and documenting all receipts, disbursements and distributions of the assets.

The chapters provided in this website outline in general terms the estate administration process in Virginia and the duties of executors and administrators of decedent's estates. Not all of the issues discussed will apply to every estate, and requirements and duties will depend on the circumstances of each case.

An executor or administrator can be held personally liable if they improperly (including in some cases by mistake) handle or disburse estate assets, or if they can't fully account and document the disbursement of the estate assets.

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