Courts play a vital role in the administration of decedents' estates in
Virginia. Probate and qualification are normally handled by the clerks
of the court. Inventories, accountings, certain hearings and accounting
enforcement proceedings are handled by Commissioners appointed and supervised
by the judges of the court. And, distribution orders may be obtained through
also be instances where interested parties must resort to litigation to
resolve issues involved in the administration of an estate. In some instances
litigation will be for the sole purpose of obtaining the aid and direction
of the court on certain issues. In other cases, litigation may involve
disputes between parties in interest.
describes the most common forms of estate administration litigation. There
has been some discussion in other Chapters of this website of court proceedings
to obtain a distribution order and regarding the determination of an augmented
estate that will not be discussed here again.
of experienced legal counsel should be obtain regarding court proceedings
or litigation related to estate administration. Such matters must
be reviewed on a case by case basis regarding viability, in terms
of the legal merits of the case and economic considerations. Alternatives
for possible settlement of disputed issues should also be explored.
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