What is Probate? The official proving of the will as the authentic and valid last will and testament of the deceased.

Simple probate is recording a will only and no qualification required. Only the original will can be presented for probate.

Two main purposes for recording a will: (1) if real estate is being transferred to a beneficiary named in the will. The will, once recorded (probated), is the official document transferring the property to another and takes the place of a deed being recorded; and (2) genealogical interests.

Where should the will be probated? Pursuant to the Code of Virginia, the will is to be probated in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office of the city or county where the decedent resided, or where the decedent owned real estate.

What is required to bring to the Clerk’s Office? The original will and an original death certificate. The Executor brings in the original will with information as to the assessed value of real estate, if real estate is transferred to a beneficiary; and secondly, an estimated total value of all personal property that was solely in the name of the decedent at time of death such as: vehicles, stock, bonds, CD’s, checking accounts, savings accounts, and insurance policies if said policies did not name a beneficiary.

A "personal representative" is defined in Va. Code § 1-234 as "the executor of a will or the administrator of the estate of the decedent, the administrator of such estate with the will annexed, the administrator of such estate unadministered by a former representative, whether there is a will or not, any person who is under the order of a circuit court to take into his possession the estate of a decedent for administration, and every other curator of a decedent's estate, for or against whom suits may be brought for causes of action that accrued to or against the decedent."

Steps prior to coming to the Clerk’s Office: Call the Clerk’s Office of Circuit Court at (804) 733-2640 to make an appointment.

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