Are you trying to find a probate court in Virginia? You won't have any luck because they do not exist. All probate cases are heard in the Circuit Courts. There is a Circuit Court in Accomack, Albemarle, Alexandria, Alleghany and Amelia. Actually, you will be close to one where ever you live in Virginia. There are over 120 Circuit Courts just waiting for you and your Virginia probate attorney.
You do have a probate attorney, don't you? If not, you could visit Legal Match, fill out a form and begin your search. Most of the work can be done online, including getting rates and checking feedback for several different attorneys. Asking friends and co-workers for referrals is also a good way to find legal help.
Maybe you are thinking about probate without a lawyer. It is possible, and probably not a bad thing, if the estate is small and the will is uncontested. You will need to find the proper documents. Once they are filled out and filed you may be done. You may also have to post a notice to creditors in a newspaper, so check carefully to be sure you have done all that is required.
Since simple estates can usually be settled for a few hundred dollars in attorney fees, that may be the best way to go. As estates get larger, the probate process gets more complicated, and the fees go up. These are, however, the times when you most need legal counsel.
If you are the Personal Representative of the estate, appointed by the deceased, you have a big responsibility. A Personal Representative is responsible to the court, the other heirs and all of the possible creditors. They are also responsible for paying any taxes that may be due on the estate. A certain amount of personal liability comes with this job and not having an attorney could be a big mistake.
There are a number of factors that would slow an estate down in probate court. If the deceased died intestate, without a will, probate could be a long process. Having a will contested could add many extra months in court. Other issues like liens, back taxes and child custody arrangements will lengthen the process.
The longer an estate stays in probate court the higher the attorney fees become. There are many ways to reduce the cost of probate but they have to be done before you pass away. It is to late when you are gone, the system takes over. Working with a Virginia probate attorney now, while you are alive, is the best way to have your affairs in order and save your heirs a lot of time and money.
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