Expertise.com

Best Probate Lawyers in Virginia Beach

Laurels
Laurels

We did the research for you!

Learn more
  • checkboxLicensing
  • checkboxUser Reviews
  • checkboxMystery Shopping Calls

Probate Lawyers FAQs

Learn more
Abrons, Chiusano & Sceviour, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Abrons, Chiusano & Sceviour, PLLC

760 Lynnhaven Pkwy Ste 140, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Abrons, Chiusano & Sceviour PLLC is a law practice in Virginia Beach serving clients in the metro area and throughout the Hampton Roads region. The attorneys offer legal counsel to clients on matters involving probate and real estate planning, and they also advocate for clients in cases concerning family law, military divorce, child support, DUI, and traffic law. Lead attorney Arnold Abrons is a member of the Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.5 / 5 (31)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Alperin Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Alperin Law

500 Viking Dr Ste 202, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

Alperin Law is a legal practice based in Virginia Beach with four other offices in different locations throughout the state. The firm handles a wide range of legal issues, including matters involving probate and estate administration. The attorneys also advise clients on the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of methods and strategies that can help eliminate the need for probate, including joint tenancy, revocable living trusts, and beneficiary designations. Other areas of practice include elder and business law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.9 / 5 (62)
Facebook
4.7 / 5 (28)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (8)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Anchor Legal Group, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Anchor Legal Group, PLLC

5101 Cleveland St Suite #100, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Anchor Legal Group, PLLC, is a law firm serving the residents of Virginia Beach and the surrounding communities. Its team of lawyers assists clients in various legal matters, including probate and estate planning, family law, civil and estate litigation, criminal law, and corporate and business law. The firm also offers legal representation in cases of personal injury, medical malpractice, and car accidents. Its founding attorney, Joshua J. Coe is a member of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (5)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Burroughs Law Office, PC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Burroughs Law Office, PC

3500 Virginia Beach Blvd Ste 410, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Burroughs Law Office PC is a law firm in Virginia Beach providing legal services to clients in the metro area and the adjoining communities. Attorney Lawren Burroughs and her team represent clients in all matters involving family law, including estate planning and probate. The attorney has served as an Assistant Public Defender for the Office of the Public Defender in Norfolk, Virginia, and she's a member of the Virginia Beach Bar Association and the National LGBT Bar Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (18)
Google
5.0 / 5 (6)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (3)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Coleman & Coleman, PLC Attorneys & Counselors at Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Coleman & Coleman, PLC Attorneys & Counselors at Law

611 Lynnhaven Pkwy, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Coleman & Coleman, PLC Attorneys & Counselors at Law handles estate planning and probate matters for individuals and families in Virginia Beach and the nearby metros. The firm assists clients in drafting estate planning documents like Durable General Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, and Charitable and Non-Charitable Gifts to help clients avoid the probate process. Likewise, it helps clients appoint personal representatives and guardians for minor children. The firm is owned and operated by two brothers who lead a team of six attorneys.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.1 / 5 (33)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (13)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Fine, Fine, Legum & McCracken, L.L.P. logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Fine, Fine, Legum & McCracken, L.L.P.

2101 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Fine, Fine, Legum & McCracken, L.L.P., is a law firm in Virginia Beach established in 1923. Combining over 100 years of experience, its team of attorneys handles a wide scope of practice areas, including estate planning and probate law. They help clients create estate plans by determining beneficial strategies to transfer their assets, reduce taxes, and protect their families. Additionally, they assist executors in estate administration and provide legal representation to clients in probate disputes.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.1
Google
4.1 / 5 (14)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (3)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Ginny Brown, Esquire logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Ginny Brown, Esquire

1604 Hilltop West Executive Center Suite 217, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Ginny Brown Esquire is a law practice in Virginia Beach providing legal services to clients in the metro area and the adjoining neighborhoods. Attorney Ginny Brown offers legal counsel to clients in a wide range of matters, including probate and real estate planning. She also focuses on elder law. The attorney graduated from George Mason School of Law in Arlington, and she was the managing attorney for TrustBuilders Law Center in Yorktown for several years.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Gunther Law Group logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Gunther Law Group

4646 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Living Wills

Business Description

Gunther Law Group is a firm located in Virginia Beach. It offers estate planning services, which cover the preparation of a wide range of documents such as revocable and irrevocable trusts, living wills, medical and financial powers of attorney, and special needs trusts. The practice also offers asset protection, gift planning, and gift tax return services. Gunther Law Group is led by Rachel Gunther, who received her Juris Doctor in 2005. She is also licensed to practice in North Carolina.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (18)
Google
4.4 / 5 (8)
Avvo
3.5 / 5 (3)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Harding, Harding & Harding Attorneys at Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Harding, Harding & Harding Attorneys at Law

5366 Virginia Beach Boulevard, AAA Building. Suite 301, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Living Trust
  • Power of Attorneys
  • Living Wills

Business Description

Harding, Harding & Harding Attorneys at Law helps clients in Virginia Beach with their estate planning matters. It assists in the process of drafting wills, powers of attorney, living trusts, and living wills to protect the future of clients' assets, finances, and families. The law firm also handles family law cases involving military divorce, child custody and support, adoption, and parenting time. One of its partners, Darrell M. Harding, holds over two decades of experience in the legal field.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.1
Google
4.1 / 5 (60)
Yelp
4.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
J.S. Burton, P.L.C. - Virginia Beach logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

J.S. Burton, P.L.C. - Virginia Beach

477 Viking Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Settlement

Business Description

Based in Virginia Beach, J.S. Burton P.L.C. is comprised of a team of probate lawyers with decades of industry experience in the areas of asset protection, probate law, estate planning, and elder law. Firm founder John Schul Burton, J.D., C.E.P. is a speaker for the National Business Institute (NBI) on Asset Protection, Estate Planning, and Veteran's Benefit Planning. He has received various awards including being named among the 2017 and 2018 Top 100 by National Advocate.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (26)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Kaufman & Canoles, P.C. logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.

2101 Parks Ave Ste 700, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Taxes

Business Description

Kaufman & Canoles PC is a law firm in Virginia Beach with over a century of experience serving the cities in Hampton Roads. The firm's attorneys work on a wide range of cases, including issues involving probate and estate and trust administration. The firm offers guidance on all matters arising during the probate process, including inventory and account preparation and dispute resolution. Managing director Edward Stolle is a member of the Virginia Beach Bar Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.4
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (15)
Google
3.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Law Office of Stephen J. Kecskes logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Law Office of Stephen J. Kecskes

575 Lynnhaven Pkwy Ste 180, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

The Law Office of Stephen J. Kecskes is a law practice in Virginia Beach serving clients throughout the metro area and the adjoining neighborhoods. The attorney offers legal guidance to clients on matters involving probate and estate planning, and he also handles divorce law, domestic violence, and protective orders cases. Attorney Stephen Kecskes has over 30 years of legal experience and is a member of the Virginia Beach Bar Association and Virginia State Bar.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Liberty Law Group logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Liberty Law Group

505 S. Independence Blvd Suite 107, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Business Description

Liberty Law Group is a firm with offices in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Chesapeake, and Newport News. It offers estate planning services, which cover advance medical directives, wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. The company also represents clients in contested and uncontested divorces. In addition, it handles cases involving bankruptcy, personal injury, and criminal law. Liberty Law Group is headed by Timolyn Whitney Tillman, who graduated from law school in 1992. She is also licensed to practice in Georgia and New Jersey.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.7 / 5 (50)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (9)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Mahoney & Richmond, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Mahoney & Richmond, PLLC

4705 Columbus St Ste 101, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate Litigation
  • Legacy Care

Business Description

Mahoney & Richmond PLLC is a law firm in Virginia Beach representing clients throughout Hampton Roads, and has been included among the Best Law Firms by the U.S. News and World Report. The firm's attorneys concentrate their practice on family law, estate and trust planning and administration, elder law and business succession planning.Founder Reeves Mahoney has been elected to Virginia Business magazine's Legal Elite, and the Virginia Super Lawyers list severally. The firm’s estate attorney, L. Ashley Brooks, has been selected for inclusion in Virginia Super Lawyers every year since 2013, and has previously been selected for Virginia’s Legal Elite. She assists clients in navigating probate and trust administration, preparing trust and estate plans that are tailor-made for each client, providing guidance in long-term care, business succession and farm succession planning, and procuring and managing adult guardianship and conservatorship matters. 

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.3 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Robin L. Tolerton, P.C. Attorneys at Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Robin L. Tolerton, P.C. Attorneys at Law

4936 Cleveland Street, Suite 100, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Robin L. Tolerton, P.C., Attorneys at Law, is a general practice firm that serves clients in Virginia Beach. Its legal professionals assist in will planning and preparation, trust agreement preparation, and estate management. The law office also handles cases in practice areas like real estate, bankruptcy, civil litigation, and child custody or support. Its lawyers, Robin L. Tolerton and John C. Peeler, are certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia as guardians ad litem for incapacitated adults and children.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.8 / 5 (21)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Singer Davis logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Singer Davis

1209A Laskin Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Singer Davis is a legal practice based in Virginia Beach that offers a range of legal services, including providing guidance on matters involving probate and estate planning. The firm's attorneys also advocate for clients in cases involving personal injury and wrongful death, medical malpractice, counter-terrorism, commercial litigation, and white-collar defence. Managing attorney Randy Singer is a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and he has been named to Virginia Business Magazine's list of Legal Elite litigation attorneys severally.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
The Law Office of Anderson & Pittman, P.C. logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

The Law Office of Anderson & Pittman, P.C.

712 Hillingdon Ct, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Probate Litigation
  • Legacy Care

Business Description

The Law Office of Anderson & Pittman PC is a law firm headquartered in Virginia Beach and serving clients from all over the metro as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. It focuses on probate and estate planning matters but also handles business and real estate law. The attorneys guide the decedent's estate executors and administrators through the Virginia probate process and advise these fiduciaries in the event of probate litigation, such as will contests and inheritance disputes.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
4.0 / 5 (23)
Yelp
4.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
The Law Office of Angela N. Manz logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

The Law Office of Angela N. Manz

500 Viking Dr Ste 103, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

The Law Office of Angela N. Manz in Virginia Beach assists clients in resolving matters relating to the probate process in the aftermath of a loved one's death. The attorney and her team help clients in filing a petition with the probate court, serving a notice to the named heirs, appraising all of the decedent's assets, paying off estate taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. She also handles cases involving elder abuse, estate planning, and Veterans Benefits.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Facebook
4.8 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
TrustBuilders Law Group logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

TrustBuilders Law Group

Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Taxes

Business Description

Based in Virginia Beach, TrustBuilders Law Group is a family owned and operated estate planning and elder law firm. Specialty areas include wills and trusts, asset protection, long-term care, charitable giving, family business succession, and much more. Clients benefit from a six-step process designed to simplify and streamline the estate planning process, as well as competitive, flat-rate pricing for most services. This firm is affiliated with WealthCounsel, National Association of Estate Planning and Counsels, and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has won two Daily Press Choice Awards. TrustBuilders Law Group has served the area for 44 years from five convenient locations. Founder Chip Buxton is one of the most lauded elder law attorneys in Virginia, and one of just a few Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. He currently sits on the Board of Governors for the Virginia Senior Lawyer Conference.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (2)
Google
4.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Wilson Law, PLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Wilson Law, PLC

1 Columbus Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Taxes

Business Description

Wilson Law, PLC, is a probate and estate planning law practice providing legal services to families and individuals in Virginia Beach. Its founder, Donna L. Wilson, is an experienced probate lawyer whose process includes a comprehensive consultation with clients in order to deliver their needs and goals. She provides full-service assistance inclusive of sub-trusts creation, estate tax analysis, will review, and death benefits collection. Wilson is a member of Wealth Counsel and is a former Special Education Consultant.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (2)
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a probate attorney do?

Probate attorneys are licensed professionals who represent executors and heirs after someone has died. They provide personalized legal advice, assist with tax planning, settle debts, and facilitate the distribution of assets. Probate attorneys typically represent clients during administrative proceedings overseen by probate courts, although some litigators focus on handling disputes and lawsuits related to contested estates.

What is probate court?

Probate court works with the family or beneficiaries of a deceased person to validate their last will and testament. The courts review the individual's will to identify and calculate assets, pay off remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries per the deceased person's requests. Depending on state laws, property valued under a certain amount may not require probate.

How long do you have to file probate after death?

The amount of time loved ones have to file a will after a person dies varies from state to state. While California courts require probate to be filed within one year, New York has no deadline. That being said, it's advisable to file probate as quickly as possible once a person has died, as the process itself can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.

Does life insurance go through probate?

Life insurance doesn't need to go through the probate courts if the deceased individual has named a beneficiary on their policy. However, life insurance policies without beneficiaries, or with beneficiaries who are either deceased themselves or cannot be contacted, go directly to the deceased individual's estate. When this happens, life insurance proceeds must go through probate court to determine how funds should be allocated.

Do household items go through probate?

While the exact rules do vary from state to state, most household items don't require probate and are automatically left to immediate families unless otherwise stated in the deceased person's will. When it comes to property, only items above a certain value or held in title are required to go through probate in most states.

Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?

In the event a beneficiary has been named, bank accounts are not required to go through probate and will be paid directly to the person designated by the deceased individual. However, should that individual be deceased themselves or if contact cannot be made after a certain period of time, funds will be allocated to the estate and put through the probate process.

What happens if no probate is filed?

Depending on the circumstances, probate may not be required in all cases. If a person passes on and their remaining property is jointly owned, it automatically transfers to the other owner. However, if a property is not jointly owned and no probate has been filed, the executor of the will won't be able to transfer titles or cash assets to beneficiaries. Be aware that the specific laws surrounding probate requirements vary from state to state.

What is probate real estate?

Probate real estate is the process that happens when a realtor steps in to handle the sale or transfer of a deceased person's owned home to another individual. In some cases, the house is sold as a means of liquidating assets, and proceeds from the sale are used to pay debts or are distributed to beneficiaries.

Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?

It is possible to probate a will and close an estate without hiring an attorney. However, it requires multiple steps and an understanding of the law. The first step is to petition the court to appoint a representative for the estate. Next, the executor must notify all heirs and creditors before switching ownership from the decedent to the estate. Once all debts, taxes, and final expenses have been paid, funds can be transferred to heirs. To close an estate, the executor must submit a report showing the court that all obligations and final wishes have been satisfied. While a will and estate may seem straightforward, things can get complicated quickly if multiple heirs are involved, or if disputes or disagreements arise over distribution. A probate lawyer can help navigate these disputes effectively, and take pressure off the executor when beneficiaries aren’t getting along.

How many years can an estate remain in probate?

If the will or proposed distribution of property is contested, an estate may remain in probate for several years. The timeline depends on how long relatives have to initiate probate, how long creditors have to come forward, and how busy the courts are. In some states, such as Florida, relatives have just 10 days to initiate probate, and the entire process takes approximately six months. In other areas, such as Massachusetts, the process can last one to two years, although the majority of probate activities occur in the first nine months. The value of the estate also affects the duration of the case. For example, California and Texas have simplified procedures for smaller estates, such as those valued at $150,000 or less.

When is a will's probate an automatic process?

Probate is the legal process of validating a last will and testament to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. A probate judge may automatically clear wills if they're accompanied by an affidavit from the decedent, a notary, and a witness. Some assets, including financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, and funds held by certain types of trusts don't have to go through probate.

What does it mean when property is under probate?

Real estate that's under probate is typically liquidated through the court system, which is most common when someone dies without a will. Home buyers who are interested in this type of property must follow special rules regarding deposits, which are sometimes nonrefundable, and buyer's premiums. Additionally, the court must approve the purchase price.

Read all FAQs