Probate and Estate Administration

 When someone dies, that person’s assets, including real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and personal effects, may need to go through “probate.”  Probate is the legal process through which a will is put to record with the court and the directions set forth in the decedent’s will are carried out.  The “executor” of an estate is the person in charge of this process. In Virginia if someone dies intestate (without a will), probate involves the appointing by the court of an “administrator” and the disposition of assets as provided under Virginia law.  The executor’s or administrator’s duties include collecting, protecting and investing assets, paying the debts and the expenses of the estate, preparing federal and Virginia estate tax returns, preparing the decedent’s personal income tax returns, and preparing various Court filings.

 With extensive estate administration experience, Marcelle Morel can assist those surviving with the probate and administration process in various ways.  Estate administration can seem overwhelmingly difficult for survivors who are not involved in the process on a regular basis.  At an initial meeting with the surviving loved ones, the steps required will be discussed in as straightforward a manner as possible.  After the meeting Ms. Morel generally provides a written summary of the specifics of this particular administration and the actions required.   For some individuals, this guidance is sufficient and further attorney involvement is limited to answering questions or assisting with problems as they arise.  Some individuals, however, feel unprepared to handle the technical tasks of administration, and prefer for Ms. Morel to perform many of the services an executor generally does.  In these cases the survivors can have confidence that the administration process is being handled correctly and efficiently and that court and tax filings deadlines are met.