One of the most important decisions to make after someone dies is how to administer their probate estate. Many times family members rush to qualify as Executor without understanding the issues involved with being an executor.
Over the years, many clients, neighbors, friends, and family members have asked me what would happen to their assets if they were to die without a Will. Some people believe that if they die without a Will, their assets would become the property of the state in which they live. In fact, this belief is a misconception in all but the most limited circumstances.
When a person dies owning a 401(k) or an IRA, must these accounts be used to pay the decedent’s debts, or are they exempt from the claims of the decedent’s creditors? The short answer is: it depends.
Clients who are appointed to handle a loved one’s estate often feel overwhelmed upon the death of their loved one. The probate process can seem complicated and daunting, especially when grieving. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about probate, and some guidance in response to those questions.
How property is titled determines in large part the manner in which that property will be transferred upon the owner's death. In Virginia, probate is the system used to transfer title to property at your death. A married couple will often own property jointly with rights of survivorship so that at the first spouse's death, title to the entire property will pass to the surviving spouse without the necessity of going through the probate system. This form of ownership, tenancy by the entirety, with right of survivorship, is only available to married couples.