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Professional Assistance

Virginia Estate Law - Overview

Estate Administration Overview
Professional Assistance
Important Terms

Although the process of receiving and properly disbursing estate assets as described in the previous overview sounds simple, it can be a complicated process even for relatively small estates. Errors can result in personal liability for an unwary executor or administrator.

An executor or administrator can save time and reduce complications and personal liability by obtaining professional legal, tax and investment advice when handling an estate.

In fact, where a decedent's will includes the powers for executors set out in Virginia Code Section 64.1-157, the law provides a level of protection for decisions of the executor made upon the advice of professional advisors.

Fees paid for services of professional advisors are normally considered a cost of administrating the estate payable out of estate assets and not personally payable by the executor or administrator. There are some exceptions, depending on the nature and extent of the services provided.

Some of the issues where professional advice can prove to be very important include:

Whether probate of a will or qualification of an executor or administrator is necessary.
Identifying, obtaining control of, and valuing estate assets.
Evaluating and handling creditors claims against the estate.
Determining spousal or family rights in appropriate cases.
Determining proper distribution of estate assets to beneficiaries under a will or applicable law and the timing of distributions.
Handling an insolvent estate (specific rules apply for insolvent estates).
Preparing the inventory and accountings filed with the Commissioner of Accounts.
Handling estate litigation or seeking advice and guidance of the Court on necessary issues.
Preparing required income and estate tax returns.
Obtaining a debts and demands hearing to identify creditors.
Seeking a distribution order of the Court to protect the executor or administrator from personal liability for unknown subsequent creditor claims.

Important Terms >>>

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