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Estate Administration and Probate


        Barbara Lloyd Kessinger provides legal services to assist with Estate Administration and Probate in Prince William County and Fairfax County. While every situation is different, the following processes take place generally.


        When an individual passes away without an estate plan or when a will is not valid or cannot be located, the deceased person’s estate (unless it is deemed to be a small estate) typically must be administered. If this is the case, someone will need to qualify before a deputy clerk of the Circuit Court to serve as Administrator. Within four months after that qualification, an Inventory will be filed. Within 16 months after the qualification, an Accounting will be filed. Heirs and their inheritance are determined according to the intestacy laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


        When an individual passes away leaving a valid will (but no trust or a trust that has not been fully funded), the will typically is recorded and the deceased person’s estate, depending on its size and the assets involved, may need to be formally probated. If so, one or more designated individuals will qualify before a deputy clerk of the Circuit Court to serve as Executor, and an Inventory and Accounting will be filed. However, beneficiaries and their inheritance are determined according to the decedent’s personal desires set forth in the will.


        Ms. Kessinger can provide assistance as needed during the processes generally described above. She helps her clients deal with the Commissioner of Accounts, who must approve the final accounting for the estate.


Visit the Estate Planning section of this website for more information.