Agreeing to be an executor or administrator of an estate is one thing, but when the time comes for most people to take this position it can be a large job. Let Schooley Law Firm help make this experience pleasant for you. Take a read below of common elements we help our clients with and call us today to make a meeting and get your "to do" list going.
If you have decided to qualify as executor or administrator of an estate, there are facts to gather, forms to sign, and bonding appointments to be made in order to be as prepared as possible when you meet with the clerk of court. We can identify your “to do” list and coordinate with the clerk’s office to ensure your time is well spent and you have everything you need to qualify.
Once you have qualified, there are a number of steps to take to streamline your record keeping and comply with the requirements of the Commissioner of Accounts, who oversees the administration of estates. Each locality has its own Commissioner (or sometimes, more than one), and each Commissioner has specific rules about documents to retain and details to provide. We have had a lot of occasion to work with the Commissioners and their staff, and we are happy to help you interact with their offices as smoothly as possible.
- Inventory: Four months after your qualification before the clerk of court, you must file an inventory of the decedent’s assets with the Commissioner of Accounts. We are here to answer questions about how to identify the assets, which assets must be listed, how to value assets, and file the inventory with the Commissioner. We can also help you coordinate the collection, storage, and disposition of those assets, should you require it.
- Accounting: Sixteen months after your qualification, and each year after that while the estate is open, you must file an accounting for the estate showing all income and expenditures of the estate. There are also important documents you must provide to support your accounting report. Keeping detailed records and starting on this accounting well before the due date are key factors to making this process run smoothly. We are happy to answer any questions you encounter, and if you prefer to delegate the entire accounting preparation to us, we are up to the task.
- Taxes: You might think that one advantage of death is no longer paying taxes – we’re sorry to disappoint you. Estates must file income tax returns if they produce an annual income of $600 or more and larger estates may be subject to an estate tax or wish to port any remaining unified credit to a surviving spouse. An administrator of a decedent’s estate is also obligated to file the decedent’s final income tax return. There are very firm deadlines for these returns, so if you need help, contact us as soon as possible and we can help you identify the deadlines and make a plan to get the necessary returns filed.
Maintaining family harmony can difficult when death and grief cause old hurts to rise to the surface and management styles or personalities conflict. Setting expectations and reasonable goals is one way to further family harmony in a time of loss and turmoil. When beneficiaries are frustrated by lack of progress, we can help you find the right resources to assist you with the labor involved in the "job" of being the executor or administrator.
But beneficiaries need lawyers, too! People who have been notified that they may be beneficiaries of an estate often have questions about their rights and reasonable expectations. Sometimes they have trouble getting information from the executor or do not know where to find information that is public record. We can provide advice about the administration process and help you make a connection with the executor or administrator so that everyone is on the same page.
- Probate Qualification
- Advising Executors of Legal Obligations and Duties
- Preparation of Fiduciary Inventory and Accountings
- Qualification and Administration of Testamentary Trusts
- Ancillary Probate in Virginia
- Beneficiary and Creditor Claims
- Expert Witness
- Elective Share or Augmented Estate Claims
- Preparation of Federal and State Estate Tax Returns
- Preparation of Gift and Generation Skipping Tax Returns
- Preparation of Estate Tax Portability Election Returns
- Administration of Illiquid or Insolvent Estates in Virginia