Royer Caramanis’ skilled estate administration attorney can help guide you through the process of settling the estate of a deceased loved one to include guidance on state probate laws and federal tax rules. Probate refers to the judicial/administrative process by which a decedent’s estate is valued, beneficiaries are determined, an executor or administrator of the estate is appointed, and the estate is legally transferred to the determined beneficiaries. The probate process is complex and can be very confusing for a person who assumes the duties associated with settling an estate. Often these personal representatives, executors or administrators have had no prior experience acting in these roles, and require the advice and expertise of a knowledgeable probate attorney. People acting in these capacities may be held personally liable for mistakes or misconduct that results in errors in the settlement of the decedent’s estate. For this reason, it is especially important to hire an experienced probate attorney to assist with the necessary tasks and steps associated with the probate process. Depending on the complexity of the estate and your level of knowledge or comfort, our attorney can assist you in administering the estate by advising you as necessary to complete the required filings and steps with the state on your own, or can even complete the entire administration of the estate on behalf of the executor, administrator, or personal representative. At Royer Caramanis, our experienced and knowledgeable estate administration attorney will work diligently to guide you through the process quickly and efficiently with as little frustration as possible; thus, maximizing the value of the estate while conserving emotional energy and avoiding stress during an already stressful time.
Guidance Through the Probate System
Most people have never had to navigate the probate system and have had no prior legal experience. Our attorney will help guide you through the state prescribed process of settling a decedent’s estate and distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries. These tasks include:
- Recording the decedent’s will in the Circuit Court of the city or county where the decedent resided at the time of death.
- Receiving court approval to certify the appointment of an executor or administrator of the estate.
- Gathering the probate estate by finding and assembling and valuing the assets of the decedent.
- Using those assets to pay creditors and claimants as well as the decedent’s other debts and final taxes.
- Filing an inventory and subsequent accountings with the Commissioner of Accounts overseeing the estate.
- Distributing the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries and closing of the estate.
Given the complexity of the probate system in Virginia, most executors and trustees will require the expert and professional advice of an attorney to assist them in the onerous process of properly settling a decedent’s estate. At Royer Caramanis, our attorneys are experts in every aspect of the settlement of an estate or trust, and look forward to assisting clients with any estate involving the death of a Virginia resident or an individual decedent that owned assets in Virginia.
Will Contests and Probate Litigation
The absence of a will or other estate planning instrument often leads to disputes over the intentions of the deceased. However, the existence of a will or other document does not necessarily solve these types of disputes. Even in the simplest of estate matters, there are often issues that arise between beneficiaries or between the executor/administrator and certain of the beneficiaries. Royer Caramanis attorneys represent personal representatives, executors, administrators, beneficiaries, excluded heirs, or the estate in mediating, negotiating, resolving, or litigating probate disputes, including:
- Allegations against a fiduciary for mismanagement of estate assets or breach of fiduciary duty.
- Allegations of undue influence or mental incompetence resulting in a Will contest.
- Disposition of assets, such as property shared by multiple beneficiaries.
- Determination of Heirs
- Omitted spouse or elective share issues.
Our attorneys are skilled mediators, negotiators and litigators. Although our attorneys prefer to preserve relationships and negotiate disputes amicably between parties, they will vigorously advocate for our clients rights in court or in front of the Commissioner of Accounts when necessary.