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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111468
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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111mk, There has been a death in our family. Can you answer the

Customer Question

There has been a death in our family. Can you answer the following: (1) The deceased has a will. What are the first steps to be taken after death has occurred (2) When does the will have to be filed and how does one get a copy. (3) Is there a waiting period
after death before the proceeds of the will can be disbursed. Thks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your questions. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Upon the death of the grantor, the party named in the will as the executor is responsible for gathering all of the deceased person's belongings, assets and also debts for safe keeping. The executor must prepare a report on all assets and debts of the estate to file with the will when probate is opened in the circuit court in the county where the deceased resided at the time of his death.
There is no waiting period and the inventory of the estate must be filed within 4 months of opening probate in VA.
The heirs would be entitled to a copy of the will upon it being filed in the probate action which is when they will receive notice of the opening of probate and the will becomes public record. The heirs do not have to receive a copy of that will until that time.
The will has to be filed at the time probate is opened.
The estate should have an attorney representing the estate through the probate process if there are more than only one heir that is beneficiary of the will.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not sure I understand probate - when is probate opened?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Probate is the court process whereby all of the property of the deceased is given to the proper heirs and debts of the estate are paid out. It is done by filing a Petition for Probate in the circuit court where the deceased resided.
Probate can be filed at ANYTIME after the death, there is no set time to file the probate petition in the VA code, that is up to the executor and the estate's attorney. Sometimes it can take time to take full inventory of the estate and many times they wait until that is done to file to open probate and file the will. There is no maximum time to file probate either and in some cases it may be years before probate is every filed if there is nothing that really needs to be distributed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I understand, but what is it that has to be filed in 4 months. And tell me again when the will becomes public record and can be seen by anybody. Thanks. you are good
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The inventory of the estate, the assets/debts, has to be filed by the executor within 4 months of when probate is filed in the circuit court.
The will becomes public record when it is filed in the probate case in circuit court. When it is filed in the probate case with the clerk of court's office it becomes public record.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When is probate filed? I promise this is the last question
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you look up two answers ago I answered this already. There is no set time in the law as to when probate is filed.
It can be filed a week after death, it can be filed months after death or even a year after death, it is really up to the person who is named in the will to be the executor and the estate attorney. There is just no time actually specified in the law as to when probate must be opened in VA.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
and this is the case even if there are 3 people in the will that will be getting property?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It is the case even if 1 person or 100 people are on the property. If there are multiple people in the will AND the executor is refusing to file the petition for probate in a reasonable time (reasonable is based on circumstances of each case, but generally it is less than 1 year from the death), any of the potential heirs can file a petition for probate and then the executor has to respond and file the will and will have to take over the probate with the estate attorney (this is not usually done unless an executor is completely refusing to file the estate for probate).

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